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Translated by Ollie Richardson

12:32:26
30/09/2016

Riafan.ru

Thousands of Ukrainian pensioners are forced to pass through humiliating queues at soup kitchens in order to literally not die from hunger, reports the correspondent of the Federal News Agency (FAN).

The soup kitchen in Lobachevsky today is experiencing an unprecedented influx of hungry Kiev pensioners. The food point can take 100-200 people at a time, but thousands come here.

“I receive a pension of 1000 hryvnia, what can you buy with that money  if a communal apartment is 1200 hryvnia? I am left without a kopeck for food, and have accumulated debt. I have fainted several times from hunger, and was taken by ambulance, but they did not feed me,” Kiev resident Natalia Leonidovna told the correspondent of the FAN. The woman does not look impoverished or marginalized, but in reality she is in a desperate situation – she has diabetes and an atrophied pancreas, she urgently needs medication, for which she has no money.

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The government does not help such people, citing the problem of under-funding of social infrastructure.

“I came here to eat and to receive a set of drugs, but I don’t have enough drugs, I was not on the list. I faint in the streets, but to people it’s all the same, still nobody helps. I’m going to die soon, I understand that. This is what life has become in Kiev,” said the once-respected elementary school teacher.

The two other respondents to FAN were former employees of the Kherson shipbuilding plant (Smart Maritime Group, SMG). Once the largest plant of the Ukraine is declared bankrupt, people will be fired or transferred to unpaid leave. In April 2016, the Director General of SMG Vasiliy Fedin spoke about the decline in production six times over the past two years that have passed since the February revolution of 2014. Fedin also reported that in the coming years, without the support of the Ukrainian state, the shipbuilding industry is doomed to extinction.

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“We left Kherson for Kiev, I thought there might be work, but work is not here. I used to travel across the Soviet Union, I’m a contractor for the receiving of vessels, even abroad vessels are received. But now in Ukraine they are not being built, except for a few boats for border guards and the like. Now there is no work for us. We surrendered power without a fight,” said Vyacheslav Shamshur, while journalists from Ukrainian media asked him to pose with a spoon in his hand.

Shamshur also said that he is now living with a colleague in a shelter, which they used to pay 2 hryvnias a day for. However, since September 1st, the fee increased to 12 hryvnia, and tomorrow they will sleep on the street, because they have no money.

It is noteworthy that as soon as the poor pensioners started to talk about their specific problems, the journalists of Ukrainian mass media interrupted them and asked to talk about how they like the atmosphere in the dining room.

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Packets of drugs were handed out in front of the eyes of the FAN reporter, but about half of retirees had to leave the dining room, because they were not on the lists for aid that costs 200 hryvnia. Many wept with humiliation and despair, and said that without medication they will die. The canteen staff tried to persuade the pensioners to be patient, offering them to come back the next day. In total, according to the staff, they can distribute 100 sets of drugs and 700 meals a day, but this is not enough.

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We will note that soon in Ukraine even the meager pensions that are now paid to retirees will be delayed. The head of the Ministry of Social Policy Andrey Reva said that Ukraine does not have enough money to pay pensions. The Minister formally for the first time recognized that the sharp reduction of the Uniform Social Tax (UST) this year (almost 2% to 22%) was a mistake and led to a catastrophic increase in the pension fund deficit – from 80 billion to 150 billion.

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