By Peter Leonard and Balint Szlanko, Associated Press, Nov 25, 2014
DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — For hours, small crowds in Donetsk huddle hopefully in the cold around cash machines that never get filled, as artillery rumbles in the distance. Money is running short in the rebel heartland since the government announced this month that it will suspend banking services as it piles on the pressure. Almost all ATMs have stopped working and the remainder are expected to stop operating over the next two weeks.
The move is part of Ukraine’s plan to suffocate its separatist foe, now that its costly military campaign has foundered. Authorities say they are also withdrawing all state services from rebel areas, although hospital and school workers in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk say it has been a while since they last saw funding anyhow.
Yet if the government of President Petro Poroshenko hopes to turn people in eastern Ukraine against the separatist leadership, evidence on the ground suggests the strategy may only be hardening their resolve.
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