Two New Front Line Civilian Crossings Opening Nov 10th

Ukraine’s opening roads.
Tomorrow Nov 10th, sees two new civilian crossings due to open in eastern Ukraine. Located in the Luhansk region at the village of Zolote & town of Shchastya, these will be the first road crossings in this region. Their opening will bring much-needed access for tens of thousands of people, many of them elderly. Travelling by vehicle makes it far easier to collect pensions, goods, access state services and visit friends and family in Ukraine government held territory. In eastern Ukraine the winters can be unforgiving, so the ability to cross the front line by road will be a real blessing. Today, Ukraine announced all its front line crossings will reopen on Nov 10th. On both sides of the line, the Coronavirus had closed most of them.

As seen below, from Ukraine held Zolote, the road leads to the Russia-led town of Pervomaisk. The small area of land between Zolote & Pervomaisk is a so-called disengagement area, where no military activity is permitted. However, during 2019 and early 2020, the towns and villages surrounding this disengagement area saw heavy and at times intense levels of shelling. It’s no doubt hoped the crossing opening will negate any future upsurges in firing here. Fingers crossed.

Yellow line marks the location seen in the below images. The header picture shows the Ukrainian checkpoint at Zolote.
Leading to the bridge over the disused rail line, the Zolote road crossing seen in 2019.
Same stretch of road seen this month. Final road work being carried out. As you can see, this area is held by Ukraine.

The crossing at Shchastya is likely to be a busy one. Just 12km from the Russia-led city of Luhansk, it crosses the Siverskyi Donets River. Due to the river, over last few years this region hasn’t endured the high levels of fighting seen elsewhere, but sporadic firing/shelling is not uncommon. The opening of this crossing poses some military anxiety. Russia-led forces could make a surprise attack on the bridge and attempt to capture territory across the river. But safe to say, Ukrainian forces will be keeping a sharp eye out for wandering Russians. This watchfulness is aided by Ukraine holding the southern end of the bridge.

Apart from the southern end of the bridge, all the area seen to the right of the Siverskyi Donets river is occupied territory. The crossing road leads to the outskirts of the city of Luhansk, seen on the far right.
The bridge across the Siverskyi Donets river.
June 2019: Close-up of the bridge. The military position seen here on the occupied side of the river is Ukrainian.
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