A German discussion: Crimea three years later, Part two, border crossing issues

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April 18, 2017, – Fort Russ News –

– Ostexpert.de, translated by Tom Winter – 

Note: Part one can be read here.

At the border: Near side, Crimea. Far side, Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian border guards

At the border with Ukraine, travelers are immediately alerted to the existing conflict situation by the Russian border officials. An entry and exit to the Russian Crimea will, however, not be prevented upon presentation of a valid visa for Russia.

“The Russian border is not a problem, the problem is the Ukrainian border because they deny the existence of this border,” explains a Russian border officer. “Ukrainian border guards believe that you have come illegally to the Crimea. They send you 100% back to Russia. “

Entry prohibition in passport

On the Ukrainian side the procedure is confirmed by the local Ukrainian border officials: “In the case, of travel from Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland, I have to stamp a ban on the passport and send them back to the Crimea. I do not want that either, but that is the law. “

In the case of a desired journey to Ukraine, the only remaining means for travelers parallels the entry into the Crimea – back over to Russia, the to one of the official border points such as Kharkiv.

Federal Foreign Office advises against travel to Crimea

The circumstances of this situation do not bother the border officials, the inhabitants, or the travelers. “I understand they do not understand that. Normal people do not understand it and I do not understand it,” comments a Russian border officer.

“It is urgently advised not to travel to the peninsula of Crimea,” is stated in the updated travel and security regulations of the German Foreign Office. It is also stated: “The Crimea continues to belong to Ukraine under international law, but is currently being controlled by Russia.”

Political No Man’s Land

The German embassy in Kiev has explained by telephone request that the travel warnings are not due to current military or violent unrest. Instead, they refer to the fact that the German Embassy does not provide consular service in the territory of the Crimea.

“If something happens to you when you get sick or anything else, we can not help you at all, neither the Embassy in Moscow nor the Embassy in Kiev. It is is simply that if you have no more money, we can do nothing for you. That is the problem there. It is practically a political No Man’s Land at the moment. And if you are there as a German and get into trouble, you are completely on your own.”

Without cash nothing works

Because of the penalties imposed, European credit cards do not work, either to withdraw money from the banking machine or to pay when shopping. Payment in shops and withdrawal of cash at some banking machines is currently possible only with Russian credit cards. This is not only a strong restriction of business for businessmen, but also a strong restriction for travelers. During your travel preparation, it is therefore essential to consider sufficient cash.

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