International Committee of the Red Cross to repay Ukraine utilities debts for occupied Luhansk

Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group on the Donbas settlement Ambassador Martin Sajdik announces that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will pay the Ukrainian authorities $700,000 to cover accumulated debts for power and water supplies in the temporarily occupied territories of Luhansk region, according to TV Channel 112 Ukraine.

”I can also say it`s about $700,000,” he said at a briefing after a Group meeting in Minsk on Wednesday, October 5.

According to Sajdik, one of the key issues to be addressed is the repayment of debts for consumed utilities services in occupied areas in Luhansk region.

”We appreciate the International Committee of the Red Cross`s commitment to compensate the costs for two months, which allows the resumption of water and power supplies,” Sajdik said.

For over a week, water stations located in the government-controlled area in Luhansk region have had no electricity supply as a result of unpaid bills and, as a result, have stopped functioning.

The ICRC said in its statement that it raised its concern to all those involved in negotiations on the issue to find ways to pay for the water provided by installations located in government-controlled areas and supplied to non-government-controlled areas. It also expressed its readiness to act as a neutral intermediary for fixing technical issues.

”We`ve taken this unprecedented step in order to avert a potentially dire humanitarian problem,” said the head of the ICRC in Ukraine, Alain Aeschlimann.

”It`s a stop-gap measure, not a sustainable solution. It buys more time. Only a political solution can resolve this issue. If nothing is done, people living in the affected area will have to face the region`s very harsh winter with no heating or water,” Aeschlimann said.

The ICRC expects this exceptional move will help people living on both sides of the contact line in Luhansk region.

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