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.