During his visit to Italy, Russian president Vladimir Putin made a criticism of Ukraine’s policy towards the separatist-controlled territories in Donbas. In his opinion, Kyiv must adopt the amnesty law and lift the economic blockade of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk republics.
“One cannot constantly demand from Russia to honour the Minsk Agreements – even in the field that has nothing to do with us. For example, the Minsk Agreements provide for the full restoration of economic relations of Donbas and Ukraine. First of all, the ‘blockade’ decree by former president Poroshenko must be revoked. It directly contradicts the Minsk Agreements. But why do you never ask our Ukrainian partners when they will do that? We cannot do it for them,” kremlin.ru quotes Putin.
Putin also expressed hope that Italy would help Russia improve relations with Europe.
In early June, Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s representative in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas, said that Ukraine might stop the blockade of separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but only after the return of Ukrainian assets seized by Russia in the east of the country.
In March 2017, Ukraine halted the economic contacts with the occupied areas in response to the capture of Ukrainian state-owned enterprises and the introduction of the Russian tax system.