“A former senior official from breakaway eastern Ukraine said Russia directly finances pensions and public sector salaries in the two pro-Russian regions there. The assertion by former separatist minister Alexander Khodakovsky contradicts Moscow, which says it does not bankroll the separatist administration and, as a consequence, cannot influence the rebels to make peace with Kiev. Khodakovsky was State Security Minister and then Security Council Secretary in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic before he was fired this year following a dispute with the separatist leader. Asked in an interview with Reuters if Russia was funding pensions and state wages in the Donbass, made up of Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk, Khodakovsky said: “Yes. These are the main areas. The budget sector and pensions, which need to be covered as a priority.” “Without outside help, it’s impossible to sustain the territory even if you have the most effective tax-raising system. The level of help from Russia exceeds the amounts that we collect within the territory,” he said in a Moscow hotel”.
Russia, bankrolling Ukrainian rebels