Ukrainian radical nationalists are threatening with a second stage of the transport blockade of the areas of eastern Ukraine outside of control of the pro-government forces. This follows from a statement by Semen Semenchenko, the Verkhovna Rada deputy representing the far-right nationalistic Samopomich party.
"We’re getting over to phase two," he told Zik TV channel. "We built up considerable power during summertime. We set up a chain of camps along the Russian border and if the state continues idling in the sphere of increasing our defense capability, we’ll act as representatives of civic society."
He did not specify any details as regards the radicals’ preparations for the blockade and did not say anything about when it could begin.
On January 25, 2017, Ukrainian radicals organized the blockade of the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics. They blocked the delivery of any cargoes including coal from the territories uncontrolled by the pro-Kiev forces.
The situation resulted in a sharp shortage of coal across the country.
President Pyotr Poroshenko condemned the actions of the so-called volunteer battalions - the notorious paramilitary units staffed by extreme radical nationalists - and said the blockade of Donbass was inflicting considerable damage on the national economy.
The ambivalence of the situation, however, revealed itself in bold relief on March 15 when the National Security Council upheld his initiative and endorsed a decision to block overland transport communications with the region. It thus answered the radicals’ demands.
Ukraine’s deputy minister for uncontrolled territories, Yuri Grymchak said Ukraine lost about 1.5% of the GDP in 2017 because of the blockade of Donbass.
Russia’s plenipotentiary representative at the Minsk talks on peace settlement of the armed civil conflict in eastern Ukraine, Boris Gryzlov said earlier the Ukrainian authorities continued building up the economic and transport blockade of Donbass - something that ran counter to the Minsk accords.