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29 Sep, 2019 15:58

Restored transport links between Ukraine and Crimea would be good, both agree, as Kiev signals new policy

Restored transport links between Ukraine and Crimea would be good, both agree, as Kiev signals new policy

Authorities in Ukraine intend to resume regular passenger transportation with Russia’s Crimea, according to the country’s Ministry of Infrastructure. Crimean authorities have welcomed the plans.

In an interview with Ukraine’s Radio Svoboda the country’s Minister of Infrastructure Vladislav Krikliy said that official passenger traffic between Ukraine and Crimea is “undoubtedly” envisaged. Competitions for carrier selection will be held in the nearest future.

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We are constructing entry-exit checkpoints. I think that everything will be finished on time, as ordered by the president [of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky],” Krikliy said. His words follow President Zelensky’s order in July to complete setting up checkpoints at the border with Crimea by December 20 of this year.

Crimean authorities called Kiev’s plans “rational,” as restoration of passenger traffic would benefit Ukrainians and the citizens of the Crimean peninsula equally.

Rational statements are coming from the power structures of Ukraine, who realize the stupidity of the previous government's actions in shutting off transport links,” Yefim Fiks, First Deputy Chairman of the State Council of Crimea, said on Sunday. “The ball is in Ukraine’s court” as to whether the Kiev authorities will follow through with the plan, he added.

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Fiks pointed out the infrastructure woes that still exist on the Ukrainian side, – like the fact that, after Crimea resumed being part of Russia in 2014, a part of the railway leading to the peninsula was dismantled.
Currently, both Crimeans and Ukrainians who cross the border daily to visit relatives on the other side “are forced to walk some three kilometers with suitcases” Fiks said. He also stated that about one million Ukrainians came to Crimea on vacation this past summer.

The [restoration of transportation] is beneficial to both peoples, to both states,” he concluded.
Air traffic between the airports of Ukraine and Crimea’s Simferopol was blocked immediately after the referendum in Crimea in March 2014, which saw the peninsula break ties with Kiev and reunite with Russia with a majority of votes. In December of that year, the National Security Council of Ukraine imposed a ban on all regular passenger traffic with Crimea by both air and rail.

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