Necessary to unblock Luhansk region's railway lines – Tuka
Deputy Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons Hryhoriy Tuka has said it is necessary to unblock railway lines in Luhansk region connecting to areas not under the control of Kyiv and punish those individuals who blocked them.
"This should be accomplished under the current laws, and not 'opinions,'" Tuka told journalists in Kyiv on Friday.
He said Ukrainian officials should now "unblock railway lines and prosecute those responsible for the blockages, according to Ukrainian law." He added that as of January 26 in the evening trains with 52 empty wagons were blocked.
As earlier reported, veterans from Anti-Terrorism Operation (ATO) operations and Verkhovna Rada deputies on January 25 blocked the Luhansk-Lysychansk-Popasna railway line at Horske-Zolote in order to intercept illegal arms shipments with Russia-backed militant groups. The checkpoint of the blockade was named "Bohdan Pillbox."
Ukrainian prosecutors on January 26 opened a criminal case for blocking railway lines pursuant to Part 1 of Article 279 of Ukraine's Criminal Code (blocking transportation corridors).
Spokeswoman for the Luhansk region's Prosecutor General's Office Anna Zykova said dozens of men in camouflaged uniforms along with parliament deputies, including Semen Semenchenko, Taras Pastukh and Volodymyr Parasiuk were located at the 41-kilometer mark of the railway line.
Luhansk Military-Civilian Regional Administration Head Yuriy Harbuz said on his Facebook page that the protesters blocked railways lines used for transporting coal. He said the blockade threatened national security.
"If shipments are not resumed, electricity-generating stations in central and western Ukraine would be deprived of fuel to generate electricity," he said.