Deputies from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation believe that Russia should solve the problem of railway communication between the Russian Federation and the Donbass region. According to Russian MPs, railway communication is necessary not only for the population of Donbass, but also for Russian business.
Russian communists Sergei Obukhov and Valery Rashkin prepared an inquiry to Transport Minister of the Russian Federation Maxim Sokolov to consider the possibility of establishing railway communication with the Donetsk People's Republic, the Segodnya newspaper wrote.
According to the officials, railway communication between the Russian Federation and the Donbas region is required for organizations of heavy engineering and commodity companies of the People's Republic of Donetsk. Russian business is interested in the railway communication with the republic as well. In addition, it would allow the displaced people, who fled the conflict zone, to return to their home whenever they wished to, the authors on the inquiry believe.
The administration of Ukrainian railways said in late November that it would be prepared to cease railway communication, in particular passenger trains, on the territory of the Donbass region that refuses to obey the Kiev authorities.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has increased the supplies of electric power to the Republic of Crimea. The volume of electricity supplied to the Crimea from Ukraine has recently grown to 650 MW; power outages are not used, Interfax reports on Monday with reference to Fuel and Energy Minister of the Crimea, Sergei Yegorov.
"Supplies of electricity from Ukraine reach 650 MW; our own generation is running at full capacity. There are no power outages on the Crimean Peninsula," said Yegorov.
He also said that maintenance crews in the Crimea would be on duty for the period of New Year holidays.
Difficulties with the supplies of electricity from Ukraine to the Crimea began in late August. In October, Ukraine cut the amount of electricity to the Crimea by nearly 50 percent.
Last week, on December 24 and 26, Ukraine completely stopped the supplies of electricity to the Crimea without warning for a few hours. When the supplies were resumed, they were not enough to meet the needs of the region; phased blackouts were used in the republic of Crimea.
On December 27, the Crimea received about 400 MW from Ukraine. The government of the republic was forced to resort to phased blackouts in residential areas to reduce the consumption of electricity by 300 mW.
On Sunday, the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine said that the country was ready to buy Russian energy on preferential terms - at Russian domestic prices, without prepayment. Deputy Prime of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak said on Saturday that Russia was ready to supply electricity, as well as up to one million tons of coal to Ukraine.
Ukraine unilaterally stopped the movement of buses and trains across the border with the Crimea. Trains en route to the Crimea are stopped at the station of Novoalekseevka (the Kherson region) before reaching the border with the peninsula. The movement of trains from the Crimea was stopped.
"Ukrainian taxi drivers cut the tires of Crimean drivers in Novoalekseevka. They struggle for profit," Crimea's Minister for Transport Anatoly Tsurkin wrote on his Facebook page.
Earlier, it was reported with reference to eyewitnesses that car and bus drivers asked an additional fee from those wishing to enter the Crimea - from 100 to 1,000 hryvnia (400-4,000 rubles).
The minister also announced official prices for bus communication at the border. "A ticket from Simferopol to Novoalekseevka costs about 300 rubles," wrote Tsurkin.
Noteworthy, starting from January 1, 2015, Russia will cancel the preferential migration regime for Ukrainian citizens, the head of the Federal Migration Service of Russia, Konstantin Romodanovsky said.
According to him, Ukrainian migrants, just like other visa-free workers, who travel to Russia, will be required to obtain work permits.
Romodanovsky said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta that "Ukrainian citizens can still enter Russia on their domestic passports. From January 1, another system of work permits will be enacted. Citizens of Ukraine will be required to obtain work patents to be hired by individuals and legal persons. In 2015, we will be back on our tracks, and we will consider citizens of Ukraine like others in general, except for those, who was forced to leave the territory of Ukraine and could not return for objective reasons. Of course, we will take our best efforts to help this category of people," the official said.