Kiev’s Economic Blockade of E. Ukraine Criticized

Kiev’s Economic Blockade of E. Ukraine CriticizedKiev’s Economic Blockade of E. Ukraine Criticized

Ukraine’s decision to sever economic ties with rebel-held areas and stop funding local public services is a big mistake which does not help the locals gain trust in Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists at the G20 summit.

 “I don’t understand why Kiev authorities are cutting off those territories with their own hands. Well one can understand – to save money. But it’s not the time or the case to save money on,” he said.

Putin compared Kiev’s debacle with the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to Russia’s own armed conflict in the Chechen Republic that erupted several times since the early 1990s and officially ended in April 2009. But even at the worst moments, Moscow did not stop paying pensions and other social benefits to the Chechen people, he said.

Kiev decided to take a number of measures in the rebel-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine, including suspending human rights protection for their residents, freezing public services, and banning banks from operating there. The stifling economic measures were ordered in a decree by President Petro Poroshenko on Friday.

The move was in retaliation for the elections that the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics held earlier in November in defiance of Kiev’s prohibition, according to RT.

  Stirring Things Up

Putin was speaking in Australia’s Brisbane, where he took part in the G20 summit.

While many media outlets, both in Australia and in other countries, implied that Putin had an icy welcome at G20 summit, the actual atmosphere at the event was quite cordial, the Russian leader said.

Putin praised the attitude of Australians in Brisbane and the hospitality of the country’s Prime Minister Tony Abbot, who played host to the event.

“I took a look at the local press and other media after I arrived here. Some tried to stir things up. The actual reality and the virtual life as reported by the media – at least in this particular case – differed a lot,” Putin stressed.

   New MH17 Images

Meanwhile, Russian state TV has broadcast what it called “sensational” photographs, which it said supported Moscow’s theory that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.

The photographs, said to be taken by a Western satellite, appear to show a fighter jet firing a missile at a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine where the Malaysian airliner was shot down on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

Moscow has long said it believed the aircraft was destroyed by a Ukrainian military jet, while western officials say evidence suggests the plane was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatist rebels.

The photographs were aired on a Friday evening news show “Odnako”, which said they had been sent to a Russian expert by a man called George Bilt, who had presented himself as a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“We have at our disposal sensational photographs presumably made by a foreign spy satellite in the last seconds of the Malaysian Boeing’s flight over Ukraine,” Reuters quoted Channel One presenter Dmitry Borisov as saying.

“The pictures support that version which has hardly been heard in the West.”

Several commentators who have examined the photographs have described them as forgeries, however.

In July, an opinion poll by the Levada Center polling agency said only three percent of Russians believed the Malaysian airliner was hit by rebels, with 82 percent saying it was shot down by the Ukrainian armed forces.