Ukraine to withdraw state services from east

President Petro Poroshenko issues decree withdrawing all public services from rebel-held eastern regions.

    Ukraine to withdraw state services from east
    The presidential decree included orders for the evacuation of state workers [AP]

    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has issued a decree ordering the withdrawal of all state services from rebel-held eastern regions.

    The order includes schools, hospitals and emergency services, a senior security official speaking on condition of anonymity told the AFP news agency.

    The presidential decree also included orders for the evacuation of state workers plus the withdrawal of all courts and judges and the relocation of prisoners.

    Poroshenko's latest move in the war-torn country came after fresh clashes between government troops and rebel fighters claimed at least five civilian lives, including those of two children, despite a nominal ceasefire that has failed to end the bloodshed.

    The decree comes just over a week after Kiev implemented passport controls around pro-Russian separatist areas in the east, as well as the end of state payments, including pensions, in the areas.

    Poroshenko told his cabinet to take steps within a week "to terminate the activities of state enterprises, institutions and organisations in the various territories where anti-terrorist operations are being conducted," a statement on his website said.

    "This is a decisive step, the games have stopped," the security official added. "All the structures that the state finances will be withdrawn from there. Ukraine will no longer finance them."

    The decree also proposed that Ukraine's central bank take steps over the next month to withdraw all banking services for businesses and individuals in the regions.

    Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from Donetsk, said: "It is a very high profile way of making a point, these so called republics are on their own so they can not expect any assistance from the Ukrainian government in Kiev.

    "Elements of this decree, which deals with banking and finance, say that they want to end services provided to institutions and companies in these regions, that is already having an impact.

    "We have seen credit card systems not working here because the banks based in Kiev are not accepting those transactions."

    Ukraine dominates G20

    Poroshenko's decree comes with the conflict in Ukraine high on the agenda at a G20 summit in Brisbane, where Western leaders are piling pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Kremlin's backing for the rebels.

    Putin intends to cut short his attendance at the summit on Sunday, a source in his delegation said, after receiving a frosty reception, with Canada's premier Stephen Harper reportedly telling him to "get out of Ukraine" in one curt exchange.

    Speaking on Friday at the summit, US President Barack Obama said: "Russia's aggression against Ukraine [is] a threat to the world".

    Kiev has accused Russia of sending soldiers and weapons to help separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine to launch a new offensive in a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people.

    Russia has repeatedly denied its involvement in the conflict.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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