In Digest, Ukraine

By Gabriela Baczynska, Reuters, Oct 25, 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine – The clanging of repairs to tanks and heavy armoured vehicles rings out from a factory in eastern Ukraine that is owned by the country’s richest man but was taken over by pro-Russian rebels.

On left, former Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych, on right, Rinat Akhmetov

On left, former Ukraine president Victor Yanukovych, on right, Rinat Akhmetov

‘s Corum company says it has nothing to do with the current work at the factory, where captured army vehicles are re-marked and men fix tank tracks, clean cannons and apply extra layers of armour.

The steel and energy multi-billionaire is, as always, saying little but showing signs of positioning himself for all possible outcomes to the separatist conflict in which several thousand people have been killed and Western sanctions slapped on Russia…

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And from the World Post, May 25, 2014:

Ukraine’s coal miners have been thrust into the limelight after an influential business magnate and mine-owner turned on the pro-Russia separatist movement in the country’s east.

Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, on Monday slammed separatists for disrupting business and urged his employees — said to number 300, 000 — to hold protests at their places of work “until peace is established,” the BBC has reported. According to the New York Times, Akhmetov ended months of overt neutrality in order to protect his companies’ interests, which are concentrated in the industrial heartlands of east Ukraine. Last week, Akhmetov’s company organized steel workers in the Black Sea port of Mariupol into volunteer patrols which forced out separatist rebels from occupied government buildings.

But as the Financial Times reports, on Tuesday few workers in Donetsk turned out to meet his rallying cry. “Some want to be part of Russia, others want to be part of Ukraine, others want to be independent. But everyone is against the Kiev authorities, absolutely,” Vladimir Sadovoy, the head of the factory’s workers’ union in Donetsk, told the newspaper.


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