Protection of Civilians: The security situation remained volatile, with a slight decrease of both security incidents – from 557 incidents in May to 535 in June – and damages to houses and civilian infrastructure – from 50 cases in May to 8 cases in June. OHCHR recorded six conflict-related civilian casualties (all injured), which is a 45% decrease compared to May 2021; three persons suffered from mine/EORE related incidents.
Freedom of movement: Access to the Government Controlled Area (GCA) through Entry-Exit Crossing Points (EECPs) was eased after the Government of Ukraine lifted COVID-19-related requirements (namely, the mobile app ‘Diya’, COVID-19 testing, self-isolation or observation in medical facilities). As a result, daily crossings increased from 1,500 to 4,500 persons per day.
Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the following constraints still limit access of residents of Non- Government Controlled Area (NGCA) to the GCA side: a) de-facto authorities in Luhansk NGCA allow crossing contact line in both sides only 1 time per 30 days; b) the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions on GCA will only remain in place while Ukraine considers its territory as a “green zone” for COVID-19 related measures – should the epidemiological situation deteriorate, enforcing restrictions at EECPs would still be possible, according to the existing legal framework; c) out of seven existing EECPs, only two are open for civilian crossings on both sides. Therefore, protection partners continue to advocate for a) review of the legislation that applies COVID-19 restrictions on EECPs and lifting of restrictions on NGCA side; b) re-opening of all EECPs to facilitate crossings of NGCA residents. Finally, in the past months, international border crossing points (IBCPs) in Milove and Hoptivka had reached the same levels of crossings as the EECP Stanytsia Luhanska. Thanks to the advocacy of protection partners, the Parliament adopted draft law #5478 to lift imposition of fines against NGCA residents using IBCPs to access GCA due to humanitarian grounds or during limited operation of EECPs. The law is pending the President’s signature. Despite this positive development,
Ukrainian authorities recently established COVID-19 restrictions for persons travelling from Russia. With the new requirement to pass a COVID-19 test, and in the absence of free of charge rapid tests at the IBCPs, NGCA residents face an additional financial burden to access GCA.
Impact of Decentralization on Essential Services: The Protection Cluster launched a monitoring matrix to track the availability of protection and socialservices during the transitional period of the decentralization processin 27 conflictaffected communities on the GCA side - including 18 Civil-Military Administrations (CMAs) and 9 Amalgamated Territorial Communities (ATCs). After six months, although there has been some progress in the reorganization of the new administrative communities, the process at local level is far from being completed - in 70% of communities along the contact line there is at least one essential protection/social service not available. Only 9 out of 27 monitored communities have established all essential protection/social services. In comparison to ATCs where elections took place, CMAsstill present more gaps and delaysin the establishment/provision ofsocialservices – and it is worth noting that after six months, not all Heads of CMAs were appointed (Svitlodarska and Vyhledarska CMAs). Provisional measures and/or gaps in the provision of services are still largely applied and were reported in 18 (67%) of the 27 monitored communities. In such cases, partners raised concerns on sustainability, quality of services and effective accessto services. Community participation in the decentralization process at the local level, including the engagement in the planning and re-organization of essential services during the transitional period, needs to be strengthened – through the election of starostas, inclusion in local participatory mechanisms, and eventually through local elections.
The Protection Cluster also mapped partners’ projects specifically targeting support to local authorities to complete the decentralization process, re-organize their local administration systems, conduct needs assessments, and reestablish protection services. Six protection partners, including UNHCR, are implementing projects in 11 CMAs, out of the 19 existing CMAs