Donbas trade blockade: Rallies, dispersal and seizure of Volyn Regional Administration

Author : News Agency

Source :

Protests against the detention of blockade participants took place in Kyiv, Lviv, Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Vinnitsa. People burned tires and demanded to settle the situation.
13:37, 15 March 2017

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The trade blockade of Donbas is gaining new momentum. Its participants were detained by the law enforcers, and in response, the organizers held rallies in several cities and even occupied the premises of the Volyn Regional State Administration. They demand the resignation of chiefs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Security Service and the adoption of the law on temporarily occupied territories. The police, in turn, say that the blockade participants have unregistered firearms.

Near the Kryvyi Torets railway station in Donetsk region was located redoubt of 16th Volunteer Battalion. It appeared there as part of the trade blockade with Donbas, which has lasted more than a month. Participants blocked the railway line, which was used for trade with the occupied territories. At the headquarters of the blockade, it was repeatedly stated that the law enforcers are preparing to  disperse the redoubt’s participants. On March 13, the headquarters informed about the alleged order of the Donetsk region police department head Vyacheslav Abroskin, dated March 6. It stated that the participants of the blockade should be detained. Abroskin said on his Facebook page that this document is a fake. But later the law enforcers arrived in Kryvyi Torets. Participants say that it was a special group of the Security Service with the support of an APC and special police forces.

The participants of the blockade called the actions of Security Service and police forceful dispersal and reported that ATO veterans and activists were beaten. People's Deputy of Batkivshchyna party Igor Lutsenko said that during the dispersal of the redoubt, about 30 participants of the blockade were detained. But it turned out that there were more detainees - 45 people. According to the police, the detainees are residents of 8 regions of Ukraine (8 called themselves ATO participants, 4 had weapons, and another 6 - previously convicted). The headquarters of the Anti-Terrorist Center (ATC) said that law enforcers simply conducted counter-diversion measures in the settlements of Toretsk, Shcherbynivka and Kurdyumovka (ATO area). And the reason for the detention was the refusal to surrender the weapon.

"We are not storming anyone, counter-diversion measures are being conducted," stated the SBU Speaker, Olena Gitlyanska.

The ATC added that the law enforcement officers seized "many weapons and a significant number of bottles with incendiary mixture."

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Abroskin stated that one of the detained, a resident of Zhytomyr region, was previously convicted for murder. He spent 9 years in penitentiary facilities and was freed in 2013. The arrested said that he and several other people were taken to Donetsk region centrally. Once there, they were given money and were promised payment for three weeks of carrying duty at the redoubt – 15 dollars per day.

Immediately after the dispersal of the redoubt the blockade headquarters, called on Kyiv citizens to come to the Maidan in order to demand the release of the detainees. The media reported that from 100 to 500 people gathered near the Independence Stela. There were also people's deputies.

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Also in Volyn Regional State Administration, took place a protest against the violent dispersal of the participants of the blockade. Local leaders of the Security Service and the police immediately arrived. Protesters wanted to get into the office of the Governor of Volyn region Volodymir Gunchik. Later they entered the oval hall of the regional state administration and began to voice the demands. At the same time, the participants of the action stated that this was not a seizure of the building, but a warning to the authorities.

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As a result, they filled an appeal to the President, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and Prosecutor General with the following requirements: to release the detained members of the blockade, to dismiss the head of the Interior Ministry Arsen Avakov and the police chief of the Donetsk region Vyacheslav Abroskin, the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of the SBU Anti-Terrorist Center Vitaly Malikov. Also the protesters demanded to adopt a law on temporarily occupied territories.

"In case of non-fulfillment of the requirements, we will act by other methods: we will be here all night, and possibly two and three," protesters said.

The Interior Ministry stated that this was not the seizure of the building of the State Administration.

"I do not see any legal grounds for screaming about the" seizure "of the regional council in the western regions. You just shouldn’t damage it and steal from there - and you can always stay there," said Artem Shevchenko, director of the Department of Communications of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

Avakov has not yet commented on the demands for his resignation. However, he managed to refute the statements of the blockade participants about the beaten ATO veterans. According to him, everyone is alive and doing well.

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But the story did not end at Volyn Regional State Administration. Protests against the detention of blockade participants took place in Lviv, Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi and Vinnitsa. People burned tires and demanded to settle the situation. Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy also called on the president to release the detainees.

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Later police informed that all the detained members of the blockade were released. Law enforcers  assured that no one has been injured.

Related: Poroshenko offers temporary halt of transport connection with occupied Donbas

Related: Narodny Front MP let in policemen, military men to Verkhovna Rada

Related: Poroshenko: We aim to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty

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