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Kyiv has begun putting up a new border in the Donbas region

Kyiv has begun putting up a new border in the Donbas region
Temporary boundary in the Donbass acquires permanent traits
Photo: UNIAN

The State Border Service is establishing a network of border checkpoints in the buffer zone of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Border guards say they are not prohibiting the delivery of goods from the region, but they are blocking the transit of imported freight.

The Kerzon Line

Employees of the State Border Service began conducting the 30-km buffer zone, which divides the territories controlled by the Ukrainian authorities and the regions controlled by the self-proclaimed republics in the Donbas region, Head of the Artemivsk District State Administration and Commander of the Artemivsk Battalion Kostyantyn Mateichenko told Capital.

“Border guards appeared at the block posts in our region. They are currently getting settled,” Mateichenko informed. He added that the State Border Service is so far not involving the local authorities in resolving the issues of arranging the positions of the border guards.

Vice Chairman of the State Border Service Serhiy Astakhov confirmed for the publication that employees of the SBS have started operating in the buffer zone. “The process of setting up a system of control of personnel and cargo that cross the line of safety between the territories controlled by ATO forces and the self-proclaimed republics is under way. We feel this is a temporary measure to protect our citizens from the intrusion of uninvited guests from the combat zones,” says Astakhov.

He informed that over the past few days the SBS opened more than 20 checkpoints in the ATO zone. “This figure corresponds to the current situation in the ATO zone. If the situation changes, the number of checkpoints needed may be reviewed,” said Astakhov. He added that the setting up of checkpoints was agreed upon in the course of talks on settlement of the situation in the Donbas region that were held in Minsk at the end of August.

According to the plan, the checkpoints will be set up in different places. “In places, where the situation is peaceful, border guards will do with a usual cabin at the checkpoint, while in case of possibility of serious assaults defense facilities will be designed. There are trenches and dugouts near the block posts,” said Astakhov.

He affirmed that construction works are under way at the expense of the state budget or local authorities. Volunteers are helping the border guards.

In addition to that, the SBS formed mobile groups that are controlling the situation at checkpoints on the borders of the LPR and the DPR. Astakhov said their task is to “obstruct the penetration of intelligence and diversionary groups”.

Depending on the situation near checkpoints, police forces may be assigned to duty to keep order and peace. The SBS assures that if the situation is aggravated, options of collaboration with certain units of the Armed Forces and the National Guard of Ukraine have been devised.

Border reinforcement of Ukrainian regions

The National Security and Defense Council assured that the checkpoint system established by the State Border Service has shown its first positive results. On Tuesday at one of the block posts near Mariupol the border guards stopped a transport truck carrying household appliances. The freight was being transported without the corresponding documents and was substituted with the permission of the self-proclaimed authorities in the DPR.

Noteworthy is that earlier the SBS proposed to the Cabinet of Ministers a plan for establishing a back-up control of the border zone throughout the territory retained by separatists. It was planned that the depth of such a border zone could be 20 km and its main task would be to prevent the penetration of smuggled goods into Ukraine. “The state border service will not allow any cargo from abroad through the Donbas region to pass through customs. Any other cargo will be only allowed through after inspection,” said Astakhov.

A section of the border zone will become a new line of defense that will be established by the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Municipal Residential Property. Chair of the VR Committee on the Fight Against Organized Crime and Corruption Viktor Chumak told Capital that the line of defense is being built up with anti-tank barrages and structures for defense from shrapnel and bullets.

Assistant Minister of the Municipal Housing Authority Dmytro Isayenko already stated that the first line of defense is 85% complete. However, ex-minister of defense Oleksandr Kuzmuk affirms that it is premature to speak about the completion of works. “I assess this work as the starting point,” he told Capital. He added that the pace of construction must be accelerated, particularly since the winter weather conditions are upon us.

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