During the procession to mark the anniversary of the Crimean civil blockade, the traffic through the entry and exit checkpoint "Chongar" was suspended. The border guards have taken additional measures to ensure the safety of the rally.
A QHA correspondent, who was at the scene, noted that several dozens of vehicles gathered on both sides of the border in a short time. Most of the cars arriving to Crimea had license plates from Donetsk, Kherson and Kharkiv regions.
"Chongar is a control point, with the largest capacity, because the traffic direction is quite active, and a large number of trains come to Novoalekseevka as well. The flow is constantly changing, depending on the weather and season. We don’t have a stabile rate of people passing, but this year the total flow is smaller than earlier,” the Assistant Chief of the Ukrainian Azov-Black Sea regional SBS Maksim Soroka said.
According to him, the ban on the Ukrainian license plates in Crimea has significantly complicated life of the people travelling and reduced the flow of vehicles to the temporarily occupied territory. The need to re-register the cars, which is not recognized by Ukraine, has made many motorists "tied" to Crimea. Maksim Soroka informed that the average traffic reduced almost by half.
Border guards do not let the goods pass to Crimea. They agree all the actions with Customs and act under the Ukrainian legislation. Crimea Civil Blockade Activists noted that in the summer there were several attempts to smuggle the harvest collected on the mainland Ukraine to the temporarily occupied territory, but they were prevented by the State Border Service of Ukraine.
Border guards note the ever-increasing activity of the Russian Federation Armed Forces at the administrative border with Crimea. According to Maksim Soroka, the State Border Service of Ukraine regularly records the invaders military transport units on land and aircrafts in the air.
“Following the annexation, the military equipment was stationed across the whole occupied territory and along the administrative border. Since the beginning of the Crimean annexation, we have constantly recorded movements of both personnel and military equipment, in particular, aerial reconnaissance: Helicopters overflew the area regularly,” Soroka said.
Moreover, the invaders brought the tradition to create artificial queues to demonstrate the Russian propaganda media the image of "a huge number of holidaymakers in Crimea." Another reason for the queues is the increased frequency of the FSB checks.
“We have constantly recorded the so-called artificial queues that were created without any apparent reason over the summer. According to the people travelling, an in-depth examination. After the notorious events in August, when Russia invented that fantasy of Ukrainian sabotage groups, the occupants tightened security and spoke with every man over the age of 18. That of course created additional obstacles particularly at "Chongar" because the flow of people here is still significant,” the UASBGS representative said.
For example, September 24, during the event to mark the anniversary of the Civil blockade of Crimea, Russian troops were prepared for provocations. They have placed Hovercraft devices on the bank of the occupied territory, as well as put snipers to monitor the activists.
“Opposite the site ["Chongar" checkpoint - Ed.] everyone could see that the occupation troops, as always, have driven the combat and armoured vehicles, which were some distance away from the administrative border. Moreover, the Russian Federation Armed Forces protected the temporarily occupied territory, in particular, machine gunners and snipers, who were on the right and left of the bridge, dividing the administrative border,” Maksim Soroka said.
Ukrainian border guards laughingly told the QHA correspondent, that the Russian military are afraid of the Ukrainian people and constantly "take additional measures". Only last week the occupants sent about 40 helicopters and other aircraft to scout. But the Ukrainian border guards have got used to the movement of Russian military equipment and do not take it as a significant threat, but say they are ready for any action on the part of the Russian Federation.