News from Ukraine: Situation along checkpoints with Crimea remains tense - Ukraine Border Guards

17:17 Aug. 8, 2016

Situation along checkpoints with Crimea remains tense - Ukraine Border Guards

A Ukrainian soldier guards at a check-point in the village of Chongar in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine close to the Crimean peninsula, Sunday, March 16, 2014 (AP Photo)

On August 7, Russia reportedly massed tanks near Crimean Dzhankoy at border with mainland Ukraine

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.

"No huge vehicle queues are spotted at the checkpoint on the administrative border. A little more than 100 cars line up at the checkpoints Chongar and Chaplynka," said the Ukrainian Border Guard Service, according to RFE/RL

Prior to that, officials announced that no more than 50 cars queued at the checkpoints Chongar and Chaplynka.

However, those trying to leave Crimea through Chongar wrote on social media that over "300 cars are piled up there and one should wait more than 12 hours (to cross the border)".

On early August 8, the Crimean Border Service site reported a significant workload of the checkpoint in Perekop (Chaplynka). An "increased workload" was also observed in Armyansk and Dzhankoy, the towns in Crimea's north.

Earlier, Ukraine's State Border Service said, at midnight on August 8, Russian occupation authorities again blocked the Kalanchak checkpoint at the administrative border with mainland Ukraine. Ukrainian Border Service spokesman Oleh Slobodyan reported on early August 8 that Russian servicemen stepped up their military activity.

Read also Russian occupation authorities block land access to Crimea

Speaker of Ukraine's General Staff Vladyslav Seleznev said that military analysts are studying the situation. He did not rule out that Russian troops increased their military activity in Crimea in line with 'Northern Caucasus 2016' drills that will take place in the Southern Federal District.

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. 


Ukrainian border guards secure the area blocking a road heading towards Crimea, in the village of Chaplinka, Ukraine, on Sept. 20, 2015 (AP Photo)

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.

However, so far Russia's occupation authorities did not comment on the situation.

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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