Ukraine’s prime minister has said his government will stop financial aid to the pro-Russian separatist eastern regions until “terrorists clear out of there”, a day after his government announced the deployment of new military units to the districts vying to break away.
However, Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday that Ukraine would maintain gas and electricity supplies so as to spare “ordinary people” during the winter.
The decision to remove the Donetsk and Lugansk regions from Ukraine’s budget came amid growing doubts over a two-month old peace accord that has failed to stop violence and lead to political settlement.
Yatsenyuk said the separatist leaders, who have declared independence and defied the government by holding their own elections on Sunday, should be left to fend for themselves.
“We don’t want to finance imposters and conmen,” he said.
“As soon as the terrorists clear out of there and we get back the territory, then we will pay every person the welfare payments they have the right to.”
“To pay today is to directly finance terrorism,” he said.
“The terrorists should get out of this territory and Russia should stop supporting them.”
However, gas and power supplies will continue, he said. “Our citizens are on this territory and the government will not allow these people to freeze, because this would lead to humanitarian catastrophe.”
President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday that his country is rearming and deploying new units to the country’s east to counter any attempt by pro-Russian rebels to take over more territory.
The move came in light of Ukrainian security officials claiming that Russia has intensified the transfer of troops and military equipment to separatist rebels, over the weekend.
However, Russia maintains that it does not aid the rebels.