The number of crossings of the ‘contact line’ through five operational entry/exit crossing points (EECPs) in eastern Ukraine decreased by 25 per cent during the first quarter of 2020, compared to the previous quarter. The decrease in the number of crossings occurred as a result of EECPs’ closure on both sides of the ‘contact line’ in mid-March to curb the spread of the virus. At the moment, civilians are allowed to cross the ‘contact line’ if their reason for travel falls under humanitarian exceptions. Before the introduction of restrictions on the crossing of the ‘contact line,’ crossing conditions had already become more complex for civilians. These new complications stem from the introduction of a ‘unified register of debts’ in January 2020, which doesn’t allow a person with an outstanding debt in Government-Сontrolled Area (GCA) to cross the ‘contact line,’ as well as form the lack of clarity concerning the introduction of the ‘list of prohibited goods’ for transfer from GCA to Non-Government Controlled Area (NGCA) on 18 December 2019 instead of the ‘list of allowed goods.’ In the meantime, civilians continued to fall victim to poor crossing conditions and limited availability of medical assistance at the crossing points. In the first three months of 2020, four civilian deaths were reported at the EECPs.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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