In retaliation for the weekend election in the breakaway eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukrainian Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk has announced the government is going to withhold financial payments from easterners, including pensions from retirees and local government salaries.
Yatsenyuk insisted that the pensions would be resumed only if those elected in the eastern votes unconditionally surrendered themselves and their territory back to central government rule.
“To pay today is to directly finance terrorism,” Yatsenyuk added, saying that the Ukrainian gas monopoly would not cut off natural gas to avoid “humanitarian catastrophe.”
The move is a risky one, and could drive the east further toward secession, as many had argued the pensions and salaries in the Russian Federation, much larger than those paid by Ukraine, as a reason to secede and seek accession into the federation.
There has been no response to the announcement from eastern leaders, though the dominant faction in the weekend vote has sought secession without accession into Russia, talking of creating a state out of the oblasts that would be a net energy exporter.