16:35 16.02.2017

Poroshenko blames blockade for coal shortages in several Ukrainian cities

Participants in a blockade movement preventing railways deliveries from areas in the Anti-Terrorist Operation zone in eastern Ukraine are doing harm to the Ukrainian state, President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday.

According to a statement released on the president's official website, the shortage of coal has contributed to problems heating "a number of cities from Kyiv to Chernihiv, Kramatorsk, Kremenchuk and Sumy.'

"Participants in the blockade are 'protecting' Ukrainian steel plants from Ukrainian coke supplies, Ukrainian families from Ukrainian heat, Ukrainian homes from Ukrainian light, Ukrainians from their jobs," Poroshenko said during a sitting of the National Security and Defense Council.

According to the president, politicians have arranged for themselves "absolutely cynical public relations for the price of blood" and caused direct threats to the energy independence of the state.

Poroshenko said the risks for metallurgical enterprises are obvious. He said several of them have been forced to curtail production because of the lack of raw materials. This, in turn, will decrease cash sales.

"No one has to explain what this will do to the hryvnia to dollar exchange policy, inflation, the standard of living of each Ukrainian citizen," the president said.

In addition, the actions discredit Ukraine in the eyes of the population living in temporarily occupied areas of eastern Ukraine and create problems for reintegrating them, Poroshenko said.

"I would like to say that protesters are not blocking the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but our battle to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Poroshenko said.

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