State Border Service Responded to Our Report

April 22, 2016

NGO "Foundation.101" has summed up its work at the two entry-exit control points in Donetsk region ("Zaytseve" and "Novotroyitske") over the past half a year in the special analytical report. The report was sent to the Ministry of Defense, the Security Service of Ukraine, State Border Service of Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk Regional Military-Civilian Administrations, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine and the President of Ukraine.

We received rather predictable responses from most institutions: either raised issues are not in their jurisdiction, or they reviewed Foundation's recommendations and appreciate organization’s concern. However, Foundation.101 was pleasantly surprised by the response from the administration of the State Border Service. In their letter, they inform about the steps that were taken to improve the functioning of the mentioned entry-exit control points after reading and analyzing Foundation’s report.

One of the problems which is pointed out by experts of the Foundation.101 is crowding of people at the "zero" checkpoint on the contact line. As the State Border Service explained, "today this issue is resolved by the introduction of buses that go between the entry-exit control point and the "zero" checkpoint to transport passengers who cross the contact line". Also, by the order of the first deputy of the State Border Service of Ukraine, an internal investigation was conducted. After analyzing the results, they prohibited installation of additional groups of border guards between the entry-exit control points and the "zero" checkpoint. This action should reduce the queues.

On the issue of "intersection of the contact line by children", the State Border Service mentioned that they took Foundation’s recommendations in account. For instance, when parents are unaware of the legal nuances they may face while returning to the uncontrolled territory (procedure require either presence of both parents or the letter of attorney from the absent parent), the border authorities assured that their employees "who carry out the process of passing the entry-exit control points additionally explain the parents the rules of crossing the contact line with children". In addition, the State Border Service reminded of the information signs at the entrance and exit to the control points, which provide the information on the procedure of crossing the contact line by citizens, and especially minors.

Regarding rough treatment by the inspectors and corruption, the State Border Service of Ukraine said that "thorough checks were carried out in all cases of complaints". Additionally, they provided detailed report on the violations and flaws State Border Service discovered at entry-exit control point "Novotroyitske" in 2015 — beginning of 2016 and the results of official investigations. Thus, disciplinary charges were brought against 3 officers and 25 soldiers and 1 military was dismissed from the military ranks of the State Border Service.

In order to reduce long queues and the length of time to cross the contact line and pass the entry-exit control point, border guards use the option of "reverse traffic". That means they let people pass through the lanes of opposite direction. Also, they organized the installation of additional groups of border guards at the entry-exit control point, made arrangements to open the control point "Zolote", which should reduce passenger traffic at the other control points.

The rest of the issues that were raised in our report (the mining of roadsides, empty logistics centers, and inspectors' resistance to observers) are not in competence of the State Border Service, as they claimed in the end of their letter.

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