June 15, 2008

Owner of Troubled Ukrainian Mine Said to Threaten Inspector Over Shutdown

Coal extraction at the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk was banned on 14 June due to serious labour safety violations which threatened miners' lives, the private Ukrayina TV channel reported on 14 June, quoting the state committee of Ukraine for industrial safety, labour protection and mine supervision.

The committee inspected the mine and sealed the coal extraction equipment, the channel said.

The head of the mine's board, MP [of opposition Party of Regions] Yukhym Zvyahilskyy, threatened the deputy head of the Donetsk territorial directorate of the committee, Yuriy Skrypnyk, with violence for closing the mine, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported on 14 June, quoting a statement by the committee's information centre.

The committee quoted Zvyahilskyy as saying that Skrypnyk "will cough blood and sit in jail", UNIAN added.

The committee had to ask police to provide personal guards for Skrypnyk due to the threats, the committee's informational centre said.

The Zasyadko mine is Ukraine's most dangerous pit, the agency said. "The frightening statistics show that about 2,000 miners have been injured there since 1999, and 286 of them received lethal injuries", the committee said.

Sources: Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1600 gmt 14 Jun 08; UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1658 gmt 14 Jun 08

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