Ukraine

Ukraine: Crossing Points - Humanitarian Snapshot: December 2021

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A 20 per cent increase in civilian crossings of the “contact line” was reported through the entry-exit crossing points (EECPs) in December compared with November. A slight increase was also observed at the crossing point “Milove” (Luhanska oblast) and “Hoptivka” (Kharkivska oblast) located on the Russian-Ukrainian border, with many of those crossing likely being residents of non-Government-controlled areas (NGCA) of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts transiting the Russian Federation to reach Government-controlled areas (GCA). Recent reports indicated cases, particularly at the “Milove” crossing point, in which Ukrainian ID holders were asked on the Russian Federation (RF) side of the CP to provide additional identity documents as proof of their place of residence in NGCA. This could be connected to the fact that entry to the RF to transit to GCA (and back) is exceptionally permitted for residents of NGCA who have special grounds, e.g., visiting relatives, returning to the place of residence, medical visits, etc.

OPERATIONAL UPDATES

On 29 December, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers announced the lifting of mandatory COVID-19-related requirements for entering GCA via the EECPs on the “contact line”. This decision came into force on 30 December. Furthermore, the decision removed the obligation for people to install the mobile phone application “Dii Vdoma” and self-quarantine when entering GCA. This development is a positive step towards removing obstacles hindering freedom of movement. At the same time, several major administrative challenges remain, which include: (i) the requirement to have a permanent residence registration in Luhanska oblast (NGCA) as a prerequisite for re-entering Luhanska oblast (NGCA) via the EECP “Stanytsia Luhanska”, (ii) requisite pre-approval from the entities in control of Donetska oblast (NGCA) to cross the “contact line” that is issued only based on humanitarian grounds, and (iii) the necessity to acquire an e-permit issued by the Security Service of Ukraine for entering GCA.

In December, four people crossing from NGCA to GCA via the EECP “Stanytsia Luhanska” were reported to be temporarily stranded in the “grey zone” due to possible technical glitches in the e-permit system. People became stranded as they could not turn back to NGCA due to the lack of residence registration in Luhanska oblast (NGCA).¹ While three of them were allowed to cross to GCA later on the same day, one person had to spend the night in the “grey zone” in the harsh Ukrainian winter conditions.

Three UN-organized humanitarian convoys delivered 170 MT of relief items to NGCA. In 2021, there were 22 UN-organized humanitarian convoys to NGCA, with over 2,000 MT of relief items delivered (half of which went to Luhanska oblast, NGCA) compared with 1,311 MT in 2020.² The increase in the amount of assistance delivered is attributed in part to the opening of the EECP “Shchastia” for the transportation of humanitarian cargo directly to Luhanska oblast (NGCA) in March 2021. Previously, humanitarian convoys to Luhanska oblast (NGCA) had to either transit through Donetska oblast (NGCA) via the EECP “Novotroitske” or to be hand-carried over the pedestrian crossing bridge at the EECP “Stanytsia Luhanska”.

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.