Europe

Ukraine announces economic blockade of rebel-held territory

  • Far-right activists clash with riot police in front of an Alfa-Bank in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Far-right activists clash with riot police in front of an Alfa-Bank in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Riot police stand block protesters from reaching the front of an Alfa bank office in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Riot police stand block protesters from reaching the front of an Alfa bank office in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Far-right activists light flares during a protest in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Far-right activists light flares during a protest in central Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. Activists and supporters of Ukrainian nationalist groups are demanding the closure of all banks associated with Russia in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

Ukraine's Security and Defense Council has announced a full transport blockade on rebel-held areas in the east of the country that is likely to cause severe economic disruption.

The president of Security and Defense Council, Alexander Turchinov, told reporters on Wednesday that "a decision was taken to halt the transport of goods across the line of contact," according to Russia's TASS news agency.

All railway and road connections will be cut, according to Turchinov.

The announcement follows recent similar, unofficial blockades organized by nationalist activists on rebel mini-states.

The activist blockade seriously hit trade on both sides, cutting off much of the coal shipments to government-controlled territory and impeding shipments from the mills and factories that are the east's economic backbone.