Ukraine

Crossing the Contact Line December 2021 EECP Survey Snapshot [EN/UK]

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In 2021, only two of seven Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) were open on both sides on the contact line: Novotroitske, in Donetsk Oblast, two days a week and Stanytsia Luhanska, in Luhansk Oblast, seven days a week. The number of crossings in 2021 was at a level considerably below the preCOVID period. In December 2021, the number of crossings at Novotroitske EECP was 3,163, which is only 1,3 per cent of that in December 2019. The same can be deduced from the number of crossings at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP where the number was 55,010 in December 2021, which is 16,7 per cent of that in December 2019. COVID-19 preventative measures are cited by the de facto authorities as their reason to keep the other EECPs closed.
On 29 December, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine eliminated the requirement to install the Vdoma locationaware app and self-isolation for people crossing EECPs to GCA. This also means that isolation in a state-run observation facility is no longer obligatory as it was for people who could not install the Vdoma app. However, restrictions on crossing EECPs on the NGCA side are still being applied.
Infrastructure rehabilitation works began at Novotroitske EECP: a new module to support pedestrian crossings is already operational and another should arrive soon.
Recently, infrastructure improvements at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP were completed, including the installation of new modules and delivery of required equipment, and baggage scanners. In addition, a new administrative service centre will be built at Marinka EECP.
Since November, people who want to cross the contact line have been unable to register at the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) website. Only already existing accounts are able to make submissions. This problematic situation for people crossing the contact line reinforces the urgency of the request R2P sent on 30 December 2021 to the CMU to amend order № 815 by revoking the requirement to obtain a permit to cross the contact line as excessively restrictive and hence unconstitutional.
In December, most respondents at Milove and Hoptivka IBCPs were residents of Donetsk NGCA (48%) compared to the number of residents of Luhansk NGCA (24%). The remaining 28% were residents of Donetsk and Luhansk GCA and other Ukraine oblasts. According to SBGS statistics, the number of crossings at Milove IBCP in 2021 doubled compared to 2020, whilst at Hoptivka IBCP the situation remained the same. Thus, the number of crossings at Milove IBCP was 277,000 in 2020, against 548,964 in 2021. At Hoptivka IBCP, 960,880 crossings were recorded in 2020, against 925,705 in 2021.
Installation of the Vdoma app is no longer required for people crossing through EECPs, however, it still remains a requirement for those crossing through IBCPs. The lack of free COVID-19 tests at both IBCPs makes the process of crossing more complicated. Thus, in December, at Milove IBCP, 39 people were sent for observation. Most were older persons, who could neither install the Vdoma app nor afford COVID-19 tests.
On 21 December, UNHCR successfully finalized rehabilitation works at Milove IBCP to enhance the safety and dignity of crossing and reception conditions. The project was launched thanks to cooperation between UNHCR Ukraine and the Luhansk Region Civil Military Administration. The project will improve the reception conditions at Milove IBCP to enhance the safety and dignity of the people crossing.