: Russia's military hardware, helicopters spotted along checkpoints with Crimea

10:59 Aug. 9, 2016

Russia's military hardware, helicopters spotted along checkpoints with Crimea

Ukrainian soldiers at the Chongar checkpoint (UNIAN Photo)

Situation remains tense - Ukraine's Border Guards

Russian forces's military activity continues near the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-annexed Crimea, assistant chairman of the State Border Service Oleh Slobodyan said on August 9.

"Ukrainian border guards spotted at least six (Russian) Mi-8 helicopters, a drone, military hardware near the positions of Russia's Armed Forces, and at night Russian-backed forces tried to spotlight the Ukrainian positions", wrote Slobodyan on Facebook.

Read also Russian occupation authorities block land access to Crimea

People and vehicles are allowed to cross the border in both directions only near the Chongar checkpoint. About 100 cars are piled up near the Chaplynka checkpoint, whereas nearly 70 vehicles reportedly queue up near the Chaplynka checkpoint.

On August 8, Ukraine's State Border Service reported that the situation on the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-annexed Crimea remains tense yet under control.

Read also Crimea 'was returned' to Ukraine at 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

The situation got tense as the occupying authorities in Crimea blocked the checkpoints at the administrative border with mainland Ukraine on Sunday morning, August 7. According to UNIAN, witnesses reported that large amounts of Russian military hardware were massed near the towns of Dzhankoy and Armyansk in Crimea's north, close to the administrative border with mainland Ukraine.

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Crimea was seized from Ukraine by Russia in February 2014. Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia.

Read also Crimea 'was returned' to Ukraine at 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".

On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin abolished the Crimean federal district by making Crimea and Sevastopol part of Russia's Southern federal district. Under the president's decree, the District now consists of Adygea, Kalmykia, Crimea, Krasnodar Territory, Astrakhan region, Volgograd region, Rostov region and Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest over such a decision and stated that Crimea remains a Ukrainian territory.

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