Vilkul calls to discontinue “blockage of Donbas”
The Verkhovna Rada should lift the economic, energy, and transport “blockage” of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions not currently controlled by Kyiv, presidential candidate Oleksandr Vilkul, deputy head of the Opposition Bloc faction, has said.
"I've submitted a draft resolution and a bill on ending the economic, transport, energy, and social blockage of Donbas to the Verkhovna Rada," Vilkul said during a discussion between experts at the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency in Kyiv on Tuesday.
The first steps toward restoring ties with the part of Donbas not controlled by Kyiv could be the payment of pensions and social allowances to the people living there and the resumption of railroad services, Vilkul said. "Trains should reach their final destination at Kostiantynivka, but at Donetsk. Yes, there should be checkpoints and everything necessary, but this would be transport communication," he said.
The railroad infrastructure in Donbas has remained intact even despite combat activities, he said.
Also, Vilkul called for restoring economic ties with the uncontrolled territories, normalizing cargo transportation, and lifting the "energy blockage."
"This could be the first significant step toward peace and reintegration. This is the path all of us have to take," he said.
When asked whether he believes the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics would facilitate the restoration of the ties, Vilkul said, "Millions of Ukrainians currently in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, even in the territories we are not controlling, shouldn't be innocent victims. And I think that if they oppose this, the people themselves would dethrone them. The people there want peace above all," Vilkul said.