15:21 GMT +315 December 2017
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    Ukraine's Economy Shrinks by 1.5% Over Southeast's 'Blockade' – Deputy Minister

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    Ukraine’s economic growth has slowed down by 1.5 percent after a group of activists blocked coal shipments from the country’s southeast, Yuriy Grymchak, a deputy minister in charge of the restive region, said Wednesday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — The blockade has been in place since early January. The activists — military veterans and lawmakers — claimed any trade with the self-proclaimed republics was illegal and described freight traffic coming from the east as smuggling.

    "The GDP [gross domestic product] grew by roughly 2.3 percent in the first quarter, down from the anticipated 4 percent. The 1.5-percent difference is what we lost to the blockade," Grymchak said in an interview to the local television channel, Channel 5.

    The blockade has led to a disruption in anthracite coal supplies to Ukraine, forcing authorities to introduce emergency measures in the energy sector starting last February in order to save resources.

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