Donetsk, Feb 1 - DAN. DPR companies’ wage debt decreased by nearly 27 percent in 2017 despite the difficult military and political situation and Ukraine-imposed economic blockade, the Republic’s acting Labour and Social Policy Minister Larisa Tolstykina told Donetsk News Agency.

“Despite the difficult political and economic situation aggravated by the economic blockade and constant strikes from Ukrainian territory, DPR pays much attention to payment of salaries and wage arrears,” Tolstykina said. “The companies that piled up their wage debt after registration in the Republic have reduced it; the same cannot be said for Ukraine.”

The official said that DPR back wages fell 27 percent to 583.3 million rubles in the period from February through November 2017; industrial companies paid RUR 17.1 back wages over the last fiscal month.

The opposite situation is observed in Kiev-held arears where back wages increased by 84 percent to 537.9 million hryvnas (1.075,8 million rubles at the Central Bank rate), according to Tolstykina. In November, wage arrears grew by 56.6 million hryvnas.

Constant strikes by Ukrainian forces aggravate the situation in the region. Ukrainian forces have not abandoned their attempts to rock the situation since the beginning of the conflict despite international Donbass ceasefire accords.

Both civilians and servicemen are regular victims of Ukrainian shellings which also cause damage to civil infrastructure. The pressure increased as Kiev introduced an economic blockade in November 2014. Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko ordered to stop all welfare paymetns in the conflict zone and a ban was placed on bank services for Donbass residents and enterprises.

On 21 January 2015, Ukraine launched Donbass transport blockade. Ukrainian authorities introduced special entry/exit regime on a limited number of highways. At present, there are four crossing points on the Donbass contact line: in Gorlovka, Donetsk, Elenovka and Novoazovskiy district.

The new spiral of the blockade occurred in early January 2017 when Ukrainian hardliners blocked commercial railway traffic to the Republics’ territory through the contact line. In response, DPR introduced receivership at the companies working in Ukrainian jurisdiction. The situation in DPR industrial sector has been gradually normalising since. *jk