Back in November, I reported on Ukraine having built 2 new civilian crossings. At Zolote and across the Siverskyi Donets river at the town of Shchastya, both are located in the Luhansk region. In occupied Ukraine, work had been carried out to likewise build two reciprocal crossing facilities on their side.
So, all was set to make life a little easier for civilians caught up in Russia’s war. The creation of two new front line crossings was designed to predominantly ease the suffering of people living in occupied Ukraine. With many of them elderly, people would be better able to cross into Ukraine to collect pensions, get access to public services, buy goods and visit relatives etc. With Shchastya close to the occupied city of Luhansk and the village of Zolote near several occupied towns, both crossing points were expected to be very busy.
However, as with all dealings with Russia, things always get complicated. Despite Ukraine having reopened all their front line crossings after COVID-19 restrictions and opened the two new ones, Russia’s forces are refusing to allow civilians to pass through the majority of their crossings. With them still allowing people to use the crossing at Stanytsia Luhanska (near Shchastya) and the one at Novotroitske (Donetsk region) two days a week, the reason for closing access to all other crossings doesn’t appear to be due to COVID-19 concerns. Ukrainian report on crossing closures.
This fundamentally inhuman decision maybe due to Russia not wanting thousands of civilians crossing the front line everyday and seeing new fortifications being constructed and military movements inside occupied Ukraine. But, it could just as easily be a pathetic Kremlin attempt to cause Ukraine and Ukrainians some inconvenience. Coronavirus or otherwise, whatever the reason, with another harsh winter kicking in, it’s civilians who are again suffering because #RussiaInvadedUkraine.