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 Hroisman considers Donbas trade blockade crime against state, says he would punish its masterminds if he could

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman would have held accountable those who waged campaign to stop trade with the occupied Donbas if he had necessary leverage.

He said meeting with veterans of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works PJSC, the enterprise he attended as part of his working trip to Mariupol, Censor.NET reports referring to Ukrinform.

"My position was clear and comprehensible from the very beginning. I still consider it a crime against the state. This is a crime against people, and if I had the power to punish [the masterminds], I would have definitely done it," the official said.

He noted that the trade blockade of the Donbas resulted in a sharp drop in GDP and had negative impact on the trade balance. Hroisman is convinced that this blockade plays into the hand of the neighboring aggressor state rather than Ukraine.

On Jan. 25, 2017, anti-terrorist operation (ATO) veterans blocked the Luhansk-Popasna haul, launching a trade blockade of the occupied Donbas areas. The movement of 12 trains with a total of 700 cars has been barred.

Later, Deputy Minister for the Occupied Territories and IDPs Heorhii Tuka said the decision to launch trade blockade was extra-legal. Minister for the temporarily occupied territories and IDPs Vadym Chernysh spoke against possible ban on commodities delivery across the contact line in the Donbas: "We need to be able to deliver coal, otherwise we will face problems throughout the country."

On Feb. 2, 2017, participants of the trade blockade barred another railroad track near Bakhmut.

On March 15, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine imposed a temporary ban on the movement of goods across the demarcation line in the Donbas. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the only exception was humanitarian aid supplied by Ukrainian and international organizations.

Источник: https://censor.net.ua/en/n3044022