Alexander Zakharchenko: "Now even minor shelling can resume major war"

At a regular meeting with the media, which was held in Donetsk on March 29, the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic spoke about the future development of key industries, raising social standards in the country, and the situation on the front line.

- Regarding the tragedy in the Kemerovo shopping mall, will the Emergency Situations Ministry be instructed to conduct fire safety inspections in the Republic’s shopping and play centres?

- The order is already being prepared. The Ministry of Emergency Situations will check the extent to which fire safety standards are respected in the shopping and entertainment centres of the Republic. Inspections will begin in the very near future.

- Answering questions during the Question & Answer Session, you announced the launch of idle enterprises. Can you specify which ones those will be and what result is expected after that?

- There is expected a direct result – economic growth, replenishment of the state budget. This applies to the metallurgical, chemical and engineering industries.

-You spoke about the next stage of raising pensions, scholarships, and about the revision of the minimum wage during the current year. When approximately can this happen?

- Within a year of the announcement. The government is drafting an appropriate programme, but it is too early to state specific figures of the increase.

- At the Question & Answer Session, you mentioned the interests that Latin American countries took in the DPR. If it's not a secret, what are they [interests] and is it really possible to implement such a collaboration?

- Due to our being non-recognized, the situation in this direction remains complicated. However, many countries show interest in our machine-tool construction, metallurgy, and coal industry. In one way or another, we trade already with many countries. Of course, after international recognition the issue will be resolved faster.

- At the meeting with the minister of industry at the Komsomolets Donbassa mine, a programme for the coal industry development was mentioned. What is the coal production volume planned for 2018? How many new lavas will have been opened by the end of the year?

- The programme covers not the coal industry alone, but also energy, and is aimed at comprehensive development in these fields. In 2018, it is planned to launch 12 new lavas. One is already open, another one, at the Shcheglovskaya-Glubokaya mine, has started work today. The volume of coal production is planned this year at the level of 8 million 100 thousand tons. Under favourable conditions, the production task can be overfulfilled.

- Last week it was revealed that Ukraine had actively joined the struggle of the West against Russia, it had even entered the top three countries to expel diplomats of the Russian Federation. Do you think that Poroshenko really does not understand the consequences Ukraine will face due to the war, to which the Ukrainian state and Western countries aspire? Doesn’t the Ukrainian government understand that in any case it will not take part in the distribution of the cake?

- Poroshenko is pushing the country into war. He did this once he became president. As for the cake – there is nothing to share out. As for the hysteria, which is happening now – dogs bark, but they are not always paid much attention...

The expulsion of Russian diplomats creates problems only for ordinary people who live in this territory. At the same time, one must take into account that Ukraine has not been asked for this.

- Is there any hope that the Easter truce will work?

- The hope is always the last to die... However, the current situation on the frontline is killing it. Literally yesterday there was a strongest escalation in the south. Bombardments of both our positions and settlements were registered. Ukraine is in some hysteria. At the same time, I hope that the truce will still be respected, since Easter is a holy day. In the Ukrainian trenches, after all, there are the same Orthodox fellows. Observance of this truce means respect for faith and believers.

- The trade blockade continues on the part of Ukraine. Is the sphere of trade developing in the Republic, in your opinion? What are the prospects for this development field?

- If you just have a closer look at the cities, you will see that there open more and more new commercial facilities. Several factors are necessary for trade to develop, and the main one is stability.

- Will new markets be mastered by famous brands: "Mak Mai", "Hercules" and others?

- Donbass is famous for its coal, metallurgy, machine building, and machine-tool construction. This is what should be sold, but not mayonnaise. Such enterprises have a chance for foreign trade if they make a product of higher quality than those available in the market of the Russian Federation. But this is not the main goal for the state. We are directed to the development of heavy industry, flagships of the economy.

- Ukraine again increases the number of attacks during the truce, (more than 300 shells were fired yesterday), what does it come connected with?

- The worst thing is not the increase in the number of bombardments, but the weapons the enemy began to engage. Yesterday, Grad missile systems were used.

The situation in Ukraine itself has implications – these are cases against Savchenko and Ruban, as well as the beginning of the election campaign. The attention of the Ukrainian people must be diverted as much as possible from the processes that are taking place inside the country. The unleashing of active hostilities in the Donbass territory serves as the greatest distraction of the attention of the Ukrainian people.

The second factor is that the format of the so-called anti-terrorist operation, subordination to the military command structure being changed, there was provoked a struggle between the special services and military agency of Ukraine. They accuse each other of failing agreements and truces.

The third point is that there is still present a discord between the Ukrainian military and the volunteer battalions. Anyone who want can shoot wherever they want and when they want. That's what scares the most, as a major war can any moment burst from a minor shelling.