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Ukrainian border guards may open new checkpoints to Donbas

November 11, 2015, 15:30 UTC+3 KIEV

This is connected with the fact that starting from mid-October the passenger traffic through the checkpoints on the separation line in the Donbas region considerably intensified

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© Stepan Petrenko/TASS

KIEV, November 11. /TASS/. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine reported on Wednesday that starting from mid-October the passenger traffic through the checkpoints on the separation line in the Donbas region considerably intensified.

"The main reason for the queues is the cessation of hostilities in the region and citizens’ intensified activity to cross the separation line. In particular, people have begun to travel more often to purchase goods and essential items, as well as to visit their relatives," the agency’s press service reported.

Thus, as of 09:00 am Tuesday about 250 vehicles were awaiting the entry permission and 300 — the permission to leave the territory of Donbass not controlled by Kiev at the Zaitsevo checkpoint.

"In order to stabilize the situation, the State Border Guard Service jointly with the Donetsk military-civil administration, the anti-terrorist operation headquarters and the anti-terrorist centre have coordinated the possibility of opening more checkpoints," the press service said.

The Ukrainian State Border Guard Service has also increased the number of its personnel at checkpoints. "However, the situation is still rather dynamic at the entry and exit checkpoint on the separation line, due to the passage of individuals," the service said.

On January 21, 2015, Ukraine imposed a transport blockade on Donbas. Ukraine’s authorities introduced a special access control regime for the entry to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR) and exit from them. The regime is in effect on a limited number of routes. In March, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine blocked the passage of trucks with food products to Donbas. The full transport blockade was imposed on June 18. On that day, all the roads from DPR to the Kiev-controlled territory were closed. On June 26, the blockade regime was softened and Ukraine’s authorities allowed private cars to cross the border at certain checkpoints.

Since September 1, the sides to the Ukrainian conflict agreed a complete cessation of fire along the contact line in line with the Minsk peace deal. The ceasefire became the main condition for a new withdrawal of weapons in compliance with the document initialed by the Contact Group on September 29 and later signed by the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and Kiev as well.

On September 29, the Trilateral Contact Group initialed a document envisaging withdrawal of weapons under 100mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres for the line of engagement. In line with the agreement, the Ukrainian military are due to pull the weapons back from the current contact line while the militias of the self-proclaimed republics from the line determined on September 19, 2014, when first agreements on ceasefire were achieved and the Contact Group signed a memorandum on cessation of fire.

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

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