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Cars lining up on Ukraine-Crimean border; traffic re-opens on Saturday evening

March 23, 2014, 2:22 UTC+3 ARMYANSK
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ARMYANSK, March 23, /ITAR-TASS/. Traffic from Crimea’s territory to continental Ukraine re-opened on Saturday night but cars are moving slowly because of scrutinizing checks. The queue is stretching for more than half a kilometer from a checkpoint near the town of Armyansk on the Isthmus of Perekop, a narrow strip of land which connects the Crimean peninsula to continental Ukraine. Cars bound for Crimea are moving freely, Itar-Tass reports.

The Ukrainian side closed its border with Crimea early on Saturday. “The traffic was blocked for several hours from the Ukrainian side of the border for unknown reasons. It re-opened on Saturday evening,” the commander of a Berkut police unit guarding the border from the Crimean side told Itar-Tass.

The office of Russian presidential envoy for the Crimean Federal District told Itar-Tass that Ukrainian border guards had unilaterally closed all entries into Crimea and exists from the peninsula to the Ukrainian territory at around 16:00 (local time) and 18:00 (Moscow time). A group of Ukrainian servicemen that was returning from Crimea to Ukraine could not cross the border for that reason.

“The purpose of that provocation is clear: the Ukrainian side wants to accuse the Crimean authorities of forcing people to stay on the peninsula, thus creating a seat of tensions on the border,” a source at the Russian presidential envoy’s office said.

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