Kyiv, 26 June 2020

After almost three months of closure, practically three out of five official crossing points at the ‘contact line’ have partially resumed their work and allowed Ukrainians with urgent reasons to finally reach essential services and attend to their acute needs and those of their loved ones. Earlier in June, I called for a phased approach to the re-opening and operation of the entry/exit crossing points that is fully coordinated and clearly communicated to the population. The current situation at the crossing points demonstrates that this call was not fully translated into real actions by relevant parties.

We are aware of at least 32 people who got trapped and spent several nights in a tent in dire conditions at a crossing point in Donetska oblast. Among these people are children, elderly, and other vulnerable persons who have been longing to cross the ‘contact line’ to meet their acute needs. Such situations are unacceptable, and I call upon all applicable parties to find an urgent ad hoc solution to resolve this unfortunate development. I once again urge all relevant actors to implement coordinated and realistic measures for the crossing of the ‘contact line’ and to inform the population about all applicable provisions. I also want to remind about the necessity to apply precautionary measures aligned with World Health Organization guidance at all operational crossing points to reduce the risk of vulnerable people contracting the virus.

The United Nations and humanitarian actors stand with the people of eastern Ukraine who have been dealing with humanitarian – and now, health – crises for the past few months. Only by acting in solidarity, we can ensure people’s safety and the implementation of their basic rights.