A man taking part in the hunger strike staged by Ukrainian miners in Kiev has attempted an act of self-immolation inside the building housing Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, Mikhail Volynets, chairman of the Independent Union of Ukrainian Miners, said on Tuesday.
"Viktor Trifonov tried to commit an act of self-immolation," Volynets wrote on his Facebook page. "Paramedics who arrived on the scene have taken him to Darnitsky district burn center."
Trifonov and other miners from the Selidovugol state-run enterprise have been staging a hunger strike in the building of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry for six days now. They are demanding back wages that remain unpaid and halting the destruction of the coal industry.
Volynets earlier said that Selidovugol miners had not been paid wages for three months, adding that the amount of total wage arrears has piled up to roughly 60 million hryvnia (about $2.4 million according to the current exchange rate).
Some 70 women held a "march of empty pots" on August 3 demanding back wages to their husbands working for Krasnoarmeyskugol mine. The following day, miners from the state-owned enterprises in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region refused to continue working and went on a hunger strike. According to Volynets, people no longer believe the government’s promises, as their families have been driven to despair.
Over the past few months, Ukrainian miners have organized protests in the capital city of Kiev and in Ukraine’s regions. They blocked the offices of the Ministry of Social Policy and streets near the ministry. In addition, they have been staging a hunger strike near the presidential administration building. However, the authorities continue to ignore their demands.