Following the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 291-p dated from March 14, 2020 in order to protect the life and health of citizens during the epidemic of acute respiratory disease COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus for the period from March 17 to April 3, 2020, restrictions were imposed on movement through the EECP at the administrative border line with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
When the quarantine was introduced, the situation at the EECP was fully controlled. Some organizational issues that arose in the first days were quickly resolved while the situation was absolutely calm.
“The Ministry for Reintegration is in close cooperation with Kherson Regional State Administration, our border guards, non-governmental organizations. Everyone is serious about the matter, that is why the cooperation is effective,” said Oleksii Reznikov, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of TOT.
During the week of quarantine, the number of daily crossings of the administrative border line gradually decreased by more than 20 times compared to usual time.
In particular, if in March 2019, 4.7 thousand persons daily crossed the EECP “Kalanchak”, “Chaplinka” and “Chonhar”, then on March 22, 2020 there were registered 215 crossings.
As of 15:00 on March 24, 97 citizens crossed the administrative border line.
Reasons for imposition of restrictions
According to the recommendations of doctors, the most effective way to ensure the safety of citizens during the epidemic is to reduce the number of movements and contacts.
A particular risk factor for Crimea, firstly, is the lack of any epidemiological control over the vast majority of persons entering the occupied Peninsula by the bridge crossing the Kerch Strait.
Secondly, a significant number of persons illegally enter Crimea by air from Moscow, where there are now officially registered 290 cases of coronavirus infection.
As of March 24, 7 cases of infection of coronavirus have already been confirmed in Crimea, and dozens of suspected dangerous diagnoses have been reported.
Despite the fact that the disease may initially proceed without visible symptoms, restriction of movement is critically necessary, forced and temporary measure.
Who can cross the EECP
During quarantine the following categories will be allowed:
1) On the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol - only citizens of Ukraine and members of their families, whose place of residence, in accordance with the procedure established by law, is registered in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, cargo and other property.
2) From the temporarily occupied territory - citizens of Ukraine, whose place of residence, in accordance with the procedure established by law, is registered outside the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, cargo and other property.
Also, there will be allowed persons with the purpose to ensure the protection of national interests or in connection with the implementation of international obligations, representatives of diplomatic agencies and humanitarian missions, leaving the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as their vehicles, cargo and other property.
Exit from the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol of other categories of foreigners and stateless persons is carried out in coordination with the Ministry for Reintegration of Temporary Occupied Territories.
During March 17-18, there were a significant number of refusals for crossing of the EECP, as citizens had no proper grounds. In the meantime, as of 15:00 on March 24 no such cases were recorded.
“We understand that in the first days of the quarantine, there were inconveniences for citizens and that not everyone was able to prepare for. But we had to act very quickly, because we are talking about people's lives and health, the virus will not be waiting. Now the problem of crossing the EECP has been completely solved. If there are reasons in all individual cases, the decision is made quickly,” said Reznikov.
Considering the presence of a considerable number of certain life situations that arose as a result of the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian authorities provided for the possibility of crossing the administrative border line in the presence of humanitarian circumstances.
On the initiative of the Ministry for Reintegration, it was proposed to include in the list of humanitarian circumstances that provide grounds for the crossing such as following:
the need to respect the principle of family unity;
cases of death or serious illness of close relatives;
severe or chronic diseases that require urgent medical intervention;
different ways of confirming actual residence in the Government controlled or temporarily occupied territory, etc.
“In order for this mechanism to work effectively, I submitted a proposal to grant permission to cross the EECP for humanitarian reasons within the framework of one agency - the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine with immediate notification of the Ministry for Reintegration. The Government has supported this proposal, and now this algorithm is working well,” said Oleksii Reznikov.
In particular, on March 23, 12 crossings of the administrative border line with Crimea were recorded on humanitarian grounds.
It is worth noting that the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea imposed restrictions on the admission of Ukrainian citizens for the period until May 1, 2020.
The Ministry for Reintegration will promptly inform about any changes.