In Ukraine’s war zone, crossing the front line is extremely dangerous and equally time consuming. Add winter and it’s a journey which can often prove fatal.
Passing through just 5 crossing points along a 500+ km front line, every month approx 1 million civilians travel back and forth. This arduous and expensive journey is undertaken for a variety of reasons. With no banking system or postal service and widespread corruption in occupied Ukraine, pensioners living there are forced to collect their pensions in Ukrainian held territory. Others cross to buy goods and visit family etc.
Last week, three elderly men died of heart attacks, whilst waiting to cross through a Russian controlled checkpoint. Due to security checks and waiting for transport, people are routinely forced to wait for hours at a time, with much of it spent standing up cuing.
The recent pictures seen below show the typically long cues, heavy snow and freezing temperatures during this time of year. Ukraine and humanitarian agencies do their best to provide facilities such as warm rest areas on their side, but the sheer volume of people, along with the constraints and vulnerabilities of these front line locations makes for a very challenging environment.
Good picture article on the only crossing point in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province).
The latest United Nations Office – Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs graphic gives more info.