Russia reportedly cut off electricity to the rebel-run areas of Ukraine on Tuesday, suggesting that Moscow could be withdrawing its support from the rebel groups.
Ukraine’s Russian-backed rebels had complained in recent weeks that Moscow had all of a sudden lost interest in them, followed by a decrease in funds to the groups.
No response from Russia nor the rebels came thus far regarding Kiev’s claims.
Russia’s reason for halting its power supply to the militia-run regions of Luhansk and Donetsk was because bills were not being paid, according to Ukraine’s Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn.
According to the energy minister, power worth $15 million (14 million euros) was supplied per month.
Since the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in March 2014, the EU and the US issued several sanctions on Moscow’s banking, energy and arms industries following accusations that Russia is providing military and political support to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Rebels claimed to be working towards reestablishing the old Russian empire by adjoining parts of Ukraine into the bigger “New Russia” that Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated quite frequently.
The rebels took over areas in Ukraine’s east, and were consistently funded by Russia as the group picked up speed in its neighbouring state.
The West also started to voice up against Russia which has long been accused of its military support, including sending weapons and troops to fight on behalf of the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces since Putin called the seized territories “New Russia.”
Russia denies such allegations.