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    Ukrainian nationalist protesters and military veterans take part in a blockade against ongoing trade with the Donbass self-proclaimed republics, on February 23, 2017, in Kryvyi Torets railway station, Donetsk region

    Blockade Backfires: Ukraine Extends State of Emergency in Energy for Month

    © AFP 2017/ Aleksey FILIPPOV
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    The Ukrainian government said in a statement Thursday that it had to extend the temporary energy emergency measures, introduced over energy shortages due to the conflict in the Donbass region, for an additional month.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In late January, following the escalation of tensions in the southeastern part of the country, a group of former participants of Ukraine's military operation in Donbass, including several lawmakers, blocked traffic on several segments of freight rail lines running from the territories uncontrolled by Kiev. The blockade led to irregularities in supplies of anthracite coal from Donbass, subsequently leading to power shortages in Ukraine, and prompted Kiev to declare an energy emergency.

    Making things worse, the Ukrainian president shifted the self-destructing blockade to an official level.

    "The Government at its meeting on Thursday has prolonged extraordinary measures on the electricity market for one month which were implemented in the framework of the regime of saving resources due to the economic and energy blockade which was imposed in January of this year," the statement said.

    The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) decided to impose receivership regime on Ukrainian enterprises in the area on March 1 in response to the transport blockade.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine), the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

    Related:

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    Economic Blockade of Donbass to Cost Ukraine 1% of GDP - Ukrainian Prime Minster
    Ukraine National Bank Downgrades 2017 Growth Forecast Amid Donbass Blockade
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    blockade, Ukrainian crisis, Donbass, Ukraine
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