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Ukraine to Close State Offices, Bank Services in Rebel-Held East

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued several decrees on Saturday to shut state institutions and banking services in pro-Russian eastern regions, pressing a move to cut links with the rebel-held territory. Ukraine has cut all state funding to separatist parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions after separatists held elections in late October which Poroshenko condemned as illegal and in violation of a ceasefire agreement made in September.

The rebels, in turn, say Ukraine violated the deal by moving to revoke a law granting the regions autonomy, putting an already fragile ceasefire in doubt. A decree posted on the president’s website said all state companies, institutions and organizations should end their work within a week and “evacuate workers, with their permission, (and) where possible remove property and documents.” The ruling, which formally asks parliament to revoke the “special status” of the regions, also suggests Ukraine’s central bank take measures to close down all banking services in certain parts of separatist-held areas, including card operations.

Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive and has cut off state funding to the war-shattered eastern regions as it refuses “to finance terrorists.” The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists, driving relations with Kiev to an all-time low.

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— Reuters