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Russia introduces border control with Ukraine in Crimea

Russia has introduced border control on the crossing points between its newly-adopted republic of Crimea and Ukraine, the Federal Migration Service (FMS) said Friday.

"The state border was introduced on April 25," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted acting head of the FMS Crimea's division Pyotr Yarosh as saying.

He said border guards are now monitoring 27 checkpoints along the border line in Crimea, but no restrictions for cross-border movements have been imposed so far.

According to Yarosh, the FMS will examine the necessity of building permanent border facilities there and the need of issuing migration cards at Crimean ports of entry in the near future.

Crimean authorities promised to announce soon the rules of crossing the state border, which must fully comply with Russian laws.

At the moment, crossing the border between Ukraine and Crimea was uneventful, Lyudmila Svetlichnaya, a Sevastopol resident, told Xinhua by phone.

"I've just returned from Kiev to Crimea by train, and the only difference from earlier times was that there were two stops for passport control: first by Ukrainian border service and second by guards in Crimean uniform," said Lyudmila, who holds a Ukrainian passport.

She said a group of teenagers, who were in the same train, got in some trouble though.

The Crimean border guards warned them that after entering Crimea they may be unable to return to Ukraine unless they are accompanied by adults.

In general, Lyudmila said, the border guards themselves were unaware what changes would be introduced in the future.

Ukraine has toughened border control following aggravation of its tensions with Russia, frequently denying entries of Russian journalists and males physically fit to carry arms.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Russia has acted correctly by supporting people in Crimea.

"Without Russia's support, residents of Crimea would not have been able to express their will in a civilized way," he said.

The Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became Russian regions in mid-March following a referendum recognized by Moscow. Kiev rejected the referendum and Crimea's annexation to Russia, saying it was unconstitutional.

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 25Apr14]

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