What You Need To Know:
✓ Supplies are running low in Donetsk stores and shops as Ukraine begins a blockade of separatist regions;
✓ Prices of food and other supplies have doubled and tripled due to scarcity;
✓“People are confused, sometimes they say how proud they are to be Ukrainian, to remain in one country, and then in the next minute they will be saying how they cannot forgive the Ukraine for the way the Ukrainian Army has treated them and the missiles that have landed in Donetsk”;
✓ Confusion along the border as no one is certain if an official blockade is in place.
“Well people are confused, sometimes they say how proud they are to be Ukrainian, to remain in one country, and then in the next minute they will be saying how they cannot forgive the Ukraine for the way the Ukrainian Army has treated them and the missiles that have landed in Donetsk,” remarked Gulliver Cragg, a correspondent for France 24, on people’s attitudes in the separatist republics.
Even leaders are confused with men like rebel-leader Zakharchenko saying that they do not care what is said in the Minsk Agreements, and then other separatist leaders who say that they are abiding by the ceasefire and that it is the Ukrainian government that is violating it.
This past week hundreds of residents of Donetsk came out in protest against the war and especially against separatist artillery fire from residential neighborhoods. When firing from these positions Ukrainian Armed Forces responds and result in countless civilian deaths.
“This blockade will not change their support on the Donetsk People’s Republic,” remarked Cragg.
People’s attitudes are marked by defiance even as the Ukrainian government appears to enact a blockade of goods to the separatist regions. Many people are using their own vegetable gardens to compensate for the fact that vegetable prices have gone up more than three times the normal rate. Manufactured goods are costing twice as much and petrol stations are closing down as there is no petrol in the whole city. Cragg, who was in Donetsk in December “I’m seeing a big difference in the amount of boarded up shops you see and also the emptiness of the shops when you do go into them.”
The governor of Donetsk Oblast, who spoke to Cragg, said that the situation at the separation line is marred by corruption and confusion as no one really knows if there is supposed to be a full blockade of the separatist regions – and on what goods and services are to be affected.
Hromadske International's Angelina Kariakina and Volodymyr Yermolenko spoke with Gulliver Cragg via Skype on June 21, 2015.