Work is continuing a pace to complete the construction of 2 new civilian crossings. Both on the front line in Ukraine’s Luhansk Oblast (province) these would be the first road crossings in the region. Seen below, the sites are located at the village of Zolote (top left) and town of Shchastya (top right). Shchastya’s located across the Siverskyi Donets river, making this the first road access point across it. Naturally, these road crossings will ease the burden of civilians wishing to cross the front line, especially during winter. Header pic shows the crossing at Zolote.
Humanitarian considerations aside, there is a fear that creating more permanent crossing points signals Ukraine’s resigned to having lost control of the occupied territories. That said, whatever the pros and cons, Ukraine can be damned proud of its willingness to put people first, a basic humanitarian consideration Russia and its occupation forces still struggle with.
The effort needed to construct a new crossing is substantial. The surrounding area needs to be cleared of mines and 7 years worth of unexploded shells and Russian ordnance. Trees and vegetation need cutting back. Unused roads and bridges damaged by shell fire must be repaired and resurfaced. Numerous buildings, fencing, signs etc. all have to be built. To cope with the large influx of people and vehicles, local infrastructure and facilities such as bus stops, toilets and parking need to be improved. All this while there is a war going on and the real danger of Russia’s forces opening fire anytime.
Both the Zolote and Shchastya crossing opening dates are penciled in for later this month. That said, just as we are now seeing in Russia, the Coronavirus epidemic is reported as rife in the occupied Luhansk region. Again mirroring Russia, the chronic lack of medical staff, coupled with a underfunded crumbling health service has apparently left occupied Luhansk unable to cope. No significant efforts are said to have been undertaken to control the virus. So this worrying and predictable state of affairs may push back opening dates.