News Society, 16/01/2021

Kharkivites Join Riots against Gas Tariffs Rising

On January 10, rallies against the increase in utility rates took place in several Ukrainian regions:  Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Poltava and Kryvyi Rih.

Several protests against the increase in gas price took place in Kharkiv and its region including Balakliya, Kharkiv, Zmiiv, Vovchansk, Nova Vodolaha, Chuhuiv, Derhachi, Lozova, Bohodukhiv, Izium, Zolochiv, Valky and Barvenkovo districts.

About 50 Kharkiv region’s residents blocked Kharkiv-Simferopol highway near the Vysokiy settlement. People demanded to revoke the decision to increase gas transportation tariffs and allow local communities to regulate tariffs themselves. According to protesters, the gas transportation price has tripled.

Residents of rural areas suffer from increasing gas prices the most as they have gas heating. Many people lost jobs during the lockdown and they have already had several thousand UAH debts for gas. As a result, gas will be cut off and people will have to spend winter in cold houses.

Tamara Alekseyenko, the retired, states that it’s impossible to live on 2,100 UAH (approximately $75) as tariffs and prices are sky-rocketing.

Similar riots took place around the Kharkiv region and gathered about 1,000 participants.

On January 15, people protested against rising utility tariffs again. Overall, about 560 participants took part in the protests in the Kharkiv region.

Near the checkpoint on the Kyiv – Kharkiv – Dovzhansky highway in Pesochin village, about 50 protesters blocked traffic.

In Krasnohrad, about 80 people came out to protest over the increase in gas tariffs. Protesters blocked the Kharkiv-Simferopol highway.

“Today we took to the streets against gas tariffs to be heard. It’s impossible to live like that. I have a scanty pension, so I have to work. But this money is also not enough, I often turn off the heating to pay less. We won’t remain silent and we will demand lower gas tariffs. If nothing changes, we will go to Kyiv for justice,” Vira Melenteva, the activist, states.

On January 13, The Ukrainian prime minister proposed to temporarily set the price of gas at UAH 6.99 ($0,25) per cubic meter for all household consumers.

The Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers will develop an annual gas product, when the gas price for consumers will be fixed for a year, and thus protect citizens from unpredictable increases.

Text: Natalia Ivanova