Businessman Akhmetov condemns 'genocide of Donbas,' calls for peaceful rally against 'Donetsk People's Republic'
Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov has called for workers of all enterprises in Donetsk region to start at noon on Tuesday a peace rally against the self-proclaimed 'Donetsk People's Republic.'
"I am calling upon all employees across Donbas to go out tomorrow for a peaceful warning protest at the companies where they work. The rally will start tomorrow at noon with a siren ringing at all industrial businesses of Donbas. In support of peace! Against bloodshed!" he said in a televised address on Monday evening.
Akhmetov said that "more than 50,000 Mariupol residents" were going to stage a peace rally "because people are tired of living in fear and terror, tired to going out to streets and coming under gunfire."
"Cities are witnessing banditry and looting. There are people walking around with guns and grenade launchers. Is this a peaceful life? Is this a strong economy? Is this good jobs and salaries? No! And that is why people wanted to go out for a peace march," he said.
"But I was told in the morning that there were gunmen in Mariupol, that they wanted to shoot down peaceful people and a peaceful action! I immediately contacted directors of our plants and called on them to suspend participation in the peace march," Akhmetov continued. "Because a human life is the biggest value and I will never allow bloodshed. I urged to suspend the action; suspend, not stop it! Because if we stop, Donbas will remain in blood. I want to tell everyone – we will not stop! We shall not be frightened. No one will frighten us including those calling themselves a Donetsk People's Republic. Just tell me please, does anyone in Donbas know at least one representative of this Donetsk People's Republic? What have they done for our region, what jobs have they created? Does walking around Donbas towns with guns in hands defend the rights of Donetsk residents in front of the central government? Is looting in cities and taking peaceful citizens hostages a fight for the happiness of our region? No, it is not! It is a fight against the citizens of our region. It is a fight against Donbas. It is genocide of Donbas!" Akhmetov said.
Akhmetov said that representatives of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic seized Donetsk Railways. "They didn't just stop the railway, they stopped the heart of Donbas because the industry of Donbas will die without the railway. It means that Donbas, our region of hard-working people, will die! That is why I am calling upon all employees across Donbas to go out tomorrow for a peaceful warning protest at the companies where they work," he said on Monday evening.
"For Donbas without weapons! For Donbas without masks! For Donbas with a peaceful sky above!" he stressed.
The rally will continue with a siren ringing every day at noon across all of Donbas until peace is established. "I also call on all motor car owners and all patriots of our region to join the action!" Akhmetov said.