Missions OperationsReportRussia Caucasus Ukraine

When Ukrainian border guards play muscle

Ukrainian border guard Loreline Merelle@B2(BRUSSELS2 between Transnistria and Odessa) When you cross the border between Moldova and Ukraine via Transnistria, the Ukrainian border guards welcome you with weapons in their hands. Equipped with machine guns, military fatigues are also out. Recently, security measures at Ukraine's borders have been strengthened at the request of the kyiv government. Criticized by the Transnistrians, these measures have an impact (relative depending on your point of view) on the passage of vehicles and travelers but also (this is more unexpected) on cooperation between Moldovans and Ukrainians.

Preventative security measures

Since March 7, security has indeed been reinforced at all Ukrainian borders with “special attention to the Transdniestrian area” the press officer of the Ukrainian border guards tells us. The kyiv government fears from Transnistria, a breakaway state from Moldova but not recognized, "provocation". Preventive measures have been put in place “with the aim of allowing people not to come with weapons to Ukraine” indicates the Ukrainian.

Patrols have been reinforced at the border. “Before we had seven days off for a month. Now we don’t have any.” There are "more people in the teams, not just at the border posts". The border guards have also strengthened their cooperation with the police in order to “to prevent and fight against corruption”. The patrol area was "expanded to cover an area of ​​30 kilometers around the border post" confides the press officer.

A blockage of Russian citizens?

“Anyone between the ages of 16 and 25 with a Russian passport is blocked at the border” deplores the former Transnistrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Yastrebchak, who adds “Transnistrian citizens can no longer use Odessa airport”. According to him, “vehicle crossings at the border are five times less than before” . Neither the Moldovans nor the Ukrainians, nor even the European border assistance mission, EUBAM Moldova-Ukraine, confirm the information. "We do it on a case-by-case basis" says the deputy head of the Ukrainian border guards. Special groups have thus been formed with a border guard and a policeman. " The Russians can cross without problems. But some in Ukraine can donate arms to armed groups”. And Transnistria is particularly watched, overflowing with stocks of Russian ammunition (Read: Transnistria. Rear base from Russia to Ukraine). For the moment, there is little result. Only a few individuals have reportedly been arrested and are being detained in Odessa.

Greater cooperation with the Moldovans

“Joint patrols have increased in recent months” confirms a Ukrainian border guard agent. “They take place two or three times a week with the Moldovan border guards”. Cooperation measures, put in place by a 2012 protocol, suggested at the time by the European mission EUBAM, which are currently being reinforced. Cooperation also involves sharing data on people crossing the border. “It’s very useful in our investigations” says the Ukrainian border guard.

(Loreline Merelle)

Read also: Transnistria. Rear base from Russia to Ukraine

About the Club: At the borders of Moldova and Ukraine: "there is still work" (Slawomir Pichor, EUBAM)

Loreline Merelle

© B2 - Bruxelles2 is a French online media that focuses on political Europe (powers, defence, foreign policy, internal security). It follows and analyzes developments in European policy, unvarnished and without concessions. Approved by the CPPAP. Member of SPIIL. Please quote "B2" or "Bruxelles2" in case of recovery