Europe

Key aid provider says it can't operate in rebel-held east

  • FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, Maria Ivanovna, no family name given, unpacks humanitarian aid she received from the charitable foundation of Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, whose vast wealth is founded on the industrial output of Donetsk coal-rich region, at her house at the outskirts of Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. The foundation said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/ Mstyslav Chernov, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, Maria Ivanovna, no family name given, unpacks humanitarian aid she received from the charitable foundation of Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, whose vast wealth is founded on the industrial output of Donetsk coal-rich region, at her house at the outskirts of Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine. The foundation said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/ Mstyslav Chernov, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 file photo miners perform maintenance at the start of a shift at one of the Krasnodonugol coal mines in Krasnodon, eastern Ukraine. Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov's foundation, who provids aid, said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015 file photo miners perform maintenance at the start of a shift at one of the Krasnodonugol coal mines in Krasnodon, eastern Ukraine. Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov's foundation, who provids aid, said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this file photo taken Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, a pro-Russian rebel stands guard as miners prepare to go into an elevator at the Chelyuskintsev coal mine in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine owned by Rinat Akhmetov. Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov's foundation, which provides aid, said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

    FILE - In this file photo taken Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, a pro-Russian rebel stands guard as miners prepare to go into an elevator at the Chelyuskintsev coal mine in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine owned by Rinat Akhmetov. Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov's foundation, which provides aid, said in a statement on Wednesday, March 1, 2017, that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena in the rebel capital Donetsk, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

The largest provider of humanitarian aid in rebel-held eastern Ukraine says its work there has been paralyzed.

The charity foundation run by billionaire Renat Akhmetov has been distributing food and other supplies to residents in the rebel-controlled east, where most of the international aid organizations have no access.

Akhmetov's foundation said in a statement on Wednesday that its work in the region has been paralyzed after rebels blocked access to Akhmetov's Shakhtar FC arena, which hosted the 2012 European football championships and now serves as a warehouse for the relief effort.

More than 9,800 people have been killed in fighting between Russia-backed separatists and government troops since 2014. Separatists do not allow Ukrainian aid and in recent months have barred virtually all international organizations from operating there.

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