14:18 31.12.2015

Crimea blockade activists removing checkpoints in light of Ukrainian govt's decision on trade sanctions against Russia

Crimea blockade activists removing checkpoints in light of Ukrainian govt's decision on trade sanctions against Russia

The activists of the so-called 'civil blockade' of Crimea are removing all checkpoints on the border between Ukraine and the peninsula, says Lenur Islyamov, one of the organizers of Crimea's trade and power blockade that was started some time ago by a number of Ukrainian civil activists.

"As concerns the commodity part of the blockade, the government has finally heard us, and the directive it has adopted, one-legged and vague though it is, is generally consistent with the spirit in which we'd like to see it, and therefore we are removing all checkpoints - we've had six of them, two each on every road. They continue to operate in a monitoring mode and won't stop anyone," Islyamov said on the 112-Ukraine TV channel on Thursday.

From now on, all civil activists will be deployed at the checkpoints on the border with Crimea together with border guards and "will monitor the observance of procedures which, in line with Ukrainian law, everyone who exists or enters Ukrainian territory must undergo," he said.

Power supplies from Ukraine to Crimea will also be terminated starting January 1, 2016, as the current contract is expiring and no new contract is likely to be signed as the Russian government will not agree to stipulate in it that power would be supplied to Crimea as part of Ukraine, Islyamov said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk had said on Wednesday that Ukraine would ban imports of certain goods from Russia and impose an import duty on goods of Russian origin.

The prime minister said the relevant directives would be published the next day after Russia's restrictive measures de facto come into effect. He insisted that the government's decision was a mirror response to Russia's actions.

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