Brussels, Belgium. The European Union in steps to take over Ukraine as a member state has been routinely financing projects or graft opportunities as they are known locally for years, but the most recent involving the separatist republics in Donbass is raising some eyes as to just who is getting the EU help.
Five to ten thousand people cross the separation line from the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic into Ukrainian government controlled territory every day. Most here have no idea the EU allocated $130,000 to improve the crossing process and reduce wait times.
The Mayorsk checkpoint was opened in October 2016, and is one of five checkpoints used by civilians crossing the border by foot or in cars. Despite attempts to decrease congestion at the border crossings, the locals who use pass through here daily are still not satisfied and openly question, just who got the money and for what “improvements?”
For the thousands of people travelling between separatist-controlled territory and government-controlled territory, the process of crossing the separation line is far from efficient. Residents have said that it often takes 4-5 hours to cross. Funding from the EU and assistance from the UN were introduced to improve the service and limit waiting at the line, but no organization has yet been able to articulate what improvements were made and who got the money.
According to Igor Zarudnyev, a spokesman for the UAF Kiev controlled Kramatorsk border patrol unit, “Now we have opportunity either to increase the flow of people crossing the border over certain time, or accelerate the border crossing procedure for one person, in particular”.
But when international reporters went to the Mayorsk checkpoint, near Gorlovka to speak to locals who cross there daily and to see whether conditions have improved at the separation line local residents thought the visit a sick joke, as no improvements of any type were visible or implemented and locals were quick to pint this out.
Tatjana, a Lugansk resident recounts a particularly negative experience at the crossing line: “Last time we spent the night here, in the morning his diaper was full, and there was nowhere we could even take a shower. They even wouldn’t let us into the first-aid point to change the diaper, the Kiev forces do not care about people, just how much they can extort to pass unmolested.”
Tags: Armed Forces of Ukraine; Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU); Donbass; Donbass blockade; Donbass conflict; Donbass war; EU; European Union (EU); Ukraine; Ukraine crisis; Ukraine-EU association; Ukrainian corruption; Ukrainian military