What You Need To Know:
✅ 5-7 thousand people cross the separation line from the so-called separatists controlled ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ into Ukrainian government-controlled territory every day. The EU allocated $130,000 to improve the crossing process and reduce queuing time.
✅ The Mayorsk checkpoint was opened in October 2016, and is one of the 5 checkpoints used by civilians crossing the border by foot or in cars. Despite attempts to decrease congestion at the separation line crossings, the locals who use pass through here daily are still not satisfied.
For the thousands of people travelling between separatist-controlled territory and government-controlled territory, the process of crossing the separation line is far from straightforward. Residents have said that it often takes 4-5 to cross. Funding from the EU and assistance from the UN have been introduced to improve the service and limit queuing at the line.
According to Igor Zarudnyev, a spokesman for the Kramatorsk border patrol unit, “Now we have opportunity either to increase the flow of people crossing the border over certain time, or accelerate the border crossing procedure for one person, in particular”.
Hromadske went to the Mayorsk checkpoint, near Horlivka to speak to locals who cross there daily and to see whether conditions have improved at the separation line.
Some locals definitely have not seen any improvement in the crossing services provided by the self-proclaimed republics. Tetyana, a Luhansk resident recounts a particularly negative experience at the crossing line: “Last time we spent the night here, in the morning his diaper was full, and there was nowhere we could even take a shower. They even wouldn’t let us into the first-aid point to change the diaper”.
Another problem the locals have is the severe lack of public transport to and from the government-controlled territory. The Donetsk civil-military administration is responsible for the bus service from the checkpoint to point ‘zero’, the furthest Ukrainian-controlled area. As Pavlo Zhebrivsky, the head of the Mayorsk crossing, stated: “We announce a tender for transport operators. We want healthy competition and adequate prices. One of the conditions is that the price for a bus ticket between the crossing point and point ‘zero’ – which is about 1200 meters – is no more than $0.04 (1UAH)”.