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Despair in Donetsk over rising prices

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 01:44

Food becomes unaffordable for many in rebel-held Donetsk, as the cost of the Ukraine conflict bites into everyday prices. Kirsty Basset reports.

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Plenty of food - but for some, no way to buy it. In war torrn Ukraine, food prices are rising rapidly. For many residents in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, food items once considered staple - are fast becoming luxuries. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, TATIANA, SAYING: "I don't want to use bad language but this is just a shock. I can only (afford to) buy sour cream. That's it. In this store, there's nothing else I can afford. Only sour cream." Turmoil on currency markets has seen the hyrvnia currency lose more than half its value so far this year - after halving in value during all of 2014. Residents say that while there is a good variety of food available, prices have gone up by around 50 per cent. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT, OLGA GUREEVA, SAYING: "So far, there's basically everything, but it's really expensive. Really expensive." IG Market Analyst Alastair McCaig says help from the West is needed - but it may come through a flexible approach to debt repayments, rather than through troops on the ground. (SOUNDBITE) (English) IG MARKET ANALYST ALASTAIR MCCAIG SAYING: "When you see the state of a currency fall as dramatically as Ukraine's has in the last 24, 48 hours, you get the sense we're very much knocking on the door of urgent change requirements." Currency boards sat empty in Donetsk, or showed the official exchange rate for buying hryvnias. Residents say buying dollars or euros with the local currency is impossible. The central bank halted trade in the hyrvnia on Wednesday - and then lifted the ban as suddenly as it was imposed, sowing confusion into the market.

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Despair in Donetsk over rising prices

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 01:44