Donetsk, Jun 7 – DAN. Trade turnover between the Donetsk and Russia has grown to 160 billion rubles in 2018, said DPR Head Denis Pushilin.

“In 2018, trade with Russian regions grew twofold compared with 2017 and reached nearly 160 billion rubles. A wide range of goods is in demand, from coal, metal, refrigerators to bakery."

He said that the turnover shall grow further.

"Ukraine has put a blockade on us and we don't have any trade with it currently. We aim for Russia, which is our principal trade partner. Despite the blockade, the Republic develops its economy."

The blockade was imposed on Donbass on November 15, 2014 as then president Petr Poroshenko ordered to stop paying social benefits and pensions in the war zone and banned all banks operations there. On January 21, 2015 Kiev introduced a pass system at some highways crossing the contact line.

A new round of economic blockade of Donbass started in January 2017. Former participants of the offensive blocked railroad between Gorskoye and Zolotoye (LPR territory). The radicals said the aim was to interrupt trade with LPR. Later they blocked Svetlanovo station in the vicinity of Pervomaisk, the railroad tracks in the area of occupied Artyemovsk (DPR) and Yasinovataya-Skotovataya stretch.

Ukrainian Rada extremists supported the “trade blockade”, while radicals said the drive shall be permanent. Poroshenko’s response came only in mid-March as he called an extraordinary meeting of the national security and defense council of Ukraine and sharply criticized radicals’ actions. However, that very day he enacted the council’s decision on full transport blockade of Donbass. *ot