|Activists of nationalist groups, Kiev, Ukraine. © Valentyn Ogirenko / Reuters |
Kiev appears to be worried that if they try to take forceful action
against the ultranationalists who are blocking railway coal shipments,
it will provoke violence that they may not be in the position to handle,
Jim Jatras, former US diplomat, told RT.
The blockade organizers boasted over social media that they have
stopped some 74,000 cargo cars from crossing the disengagement line
between Kiev-controlled and rebel-held parts of Ukraine.
of wagons filled with coal cannot leave the Donbass area, Donetsk
Region, as pro-Kiev activists block train lines leading to
The nationalists argue that
buying coal from mines controlled by the rebels in the East is
equivalent to treason. However, without the necessary coal supplies
Ukrainian power plants are threatened with closure.
Kiev has declared a state of emergency for the nation’s energy industry.
rail tracks were cordoned off some time ago by Ukrainian nationalist
activists and MPs. What do you think they are trying to gain here?
Frankly, I think they are not sure what to do. They know that this is
extremely damaging to the Ukrainian economy, as of February 15 they said
they had 40 days reserve and we’re going to be coming up on the
exhaustion of those reserves very quickly. The Prime Minister Mr.
[Volodymyr] Groysman has said that 300,000 jobs are potentially going to
be lost here if they are not able to maintain coal supplies – this is
12 percent of the country’s production. They cannot sustain this. You
would think that this kind of illegal activity – there is no legal
authority for this blockade – would be something that the government
would step in. I can only imagine that they don’t do it because they
feel too weak to do it. They are afraid of the kind of ultranationalists
that are behind this, and that if they try to take forceful action
against them, it will provoke a resort to violence that they may not be
able to handle.