News / Europe

Businessmen in Eastern Ukraine Want Curbs on Separatists

Eastern Ukrainian steel and coal magnate and Shakhtar Donetsk's soccer club owner Rinat Akhmetov, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012
Eastern Ukrainian steel and coal magnate and Shakhtar Donetsk's soccer club owner Rinat Akhmetov, in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012
Businessmen in eastern Ukraine are pressuring separatist leaders to enter into talks with Kyiv and to control their gunmen who have taken over key buildings, several businessmen told VOA.
 
“We are trying to get them to understand that the strong-arm tactics on businesses and demands for money and the abductions of opponents has to stop,” said an owner of a large events business in Donetsk that relies on international business conferences and sporting fixtures.
 
The businessman asked for his name to be withheld from this article for safety reasons.
 
The troubled Donetsk region lies in a province with 4.3 million people and is home to some of Ukraine’s heaviest industries.
 
“The business community is worried and while we have a lot of commercial ties with Russia, we also have a lot of commerce with Europe: we don’t want to be forced to choose between them,” he said.
 
Businessmen say since Sunday’s referendum on self-rule – separatist’s claim 89 percent voted in favor – separatist gunmen have been demanding “tax” money from factories and large stores.
 
“It doesn’t seem to be systematic,” said the owner of a chain of clothes stores.  “But it is happening increasingly.”
 
Separatist gunmen raided a yogurt and ice cream factory in the town of Horlivka, half-an-hour’s drive from the city of Donetsk recently and told the owner that he had to start paying them a regular weekly contribution.
 
“The factory employs a lot of workers and they told the gunmen to go away and not to return,” said an employee at the factory. 
 
Election is next target


Pro-Russian rebels appear to be honing in on election officials in a bid to disrupt the Ukraine’s presidential elections slated for May 25.
 
On Wednesday, the head of the local election commission in the town of Kramatorsk, a hundred kilometers north of Donetsk, was kidnapped.  He is at least the third election official abducted this month in Donetsk oblast.
 
The lawlessness across the region is hurting business, say aides to the Kiev-appointed regional governor Serhiy Taruta.
 
The towns in Donetsk oblast where the separatists hold sway are trapped in a twilight world, where stores function and businesses try to get on with trading but where government doesn’t really function.
 
Courts have stopped working in some towns and capricious leaders and unpredictable camouflaged gunmen, or club-wielding unemployed youths eager for status, arbitrarily enforce what passes for order in separatist flashpoints.
 
Ukraine’s richest oligarch takes a stand
 
In televised remarks on Wednesday, Ukraine’s richest oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, whose empire is headquartered in Donetsk, said the region “can be happy only in [a] united Ukraine.”
 
The multi-billionaire who controls a huge industrial empire of mines, steel works and power stations, also said that neither Russia nor eastern Ukraine would benefit, if Russia annexed parts of eastern Ukraine.
 
As the crisis unfolded, Akhmetov appeared to be hedging his bets, according to analysts, and he had declined an offer from the interim government in Kyiv to become the governor of the Donetsk region.
 
He had been holding talks with separatists but reacted angrily earlier in the week when one of their leaders claimed publicly that the billionaire had helped to fund them – a claim Akhmetov denied.
 
Akhmetov, whose net worth has been estimated by the English-language newspaper the Kyiv Post at nearly $12 billion, said the crisis engulfing the region is a “disaster.”
 
 “The region has been gripped by fear,” he said. “People are closing stores and offices and leaving cities. People are being shot and killed in streets.”

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
May 16, 2014 12:34 PM
Terrible Crisis! May I ask who will help the civilian? Who will save residents life? Who will protest them?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs