Briefing Note on Freedom of movement across the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, December 2017 [EN/UK]


General overview

For more than three years, restrictions on freedom of movement and the transfer of goods imposed by the Government of Ukraine at checkpoints along the contact line have required civilians to expose themselves to security risks, long queues, and other physical challenges, further dividing a once-integrated community.

During August-October 2017, over one million crossings through the checkpoints in the east took place each month on average, or approximately 30,000 crossings each day. In addition, an average of 200,000 crossings occurred over the administrative boundary with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea each month .

The limited number of checkpoints – only five across the entire contact line –, in combination with the small number of staff employed to process people crossing, and the complex nature of the crossing procedures, directly contribute to the hardships endured by civilians as they attempt to cross the contact line. Of particular concern, there is only one crossing point in Luhansk region, which is limited to pedestrians and consists of a half-ruined wooden bridge.

Key messages

  • The number of crossing routes should be increased and all crossing routes should be in a no-fire area.

  • An authorized State authority should be directly responsible for maintenance of checkpoints.

  • The validity of electronic permits should be indefinite.

  • The current list of goods permissible for transport across the contact line should be replaced with a list of goods that are prohibited from transport.

  • The transfer of cash across the contact line should be specifically regulated to avoid abuse.