The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE SMM) has called on the Ukrainian authorities and the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) to facilitate the opening of more checkpoints in eastern Ukraine, including the planned opening of a checkpoint in Zolote.
At 5 p.m. on March 31, SMM monitors saw over 120 civilians, including elderly people, who were standing in a queue between the Ukrainian Armed Forces' checkpoint and a roadblock of the so-called LPR, in order to walk from a government-controlled area into the areas not controlled by the government, the SMM said on its Facebook page on Thursday.
The SMM urged the parties to work together, and increase their own efforts to open the checkpoint, and allow the civilian population of the conflict-hit areas to return to normal life.
The SMM stressed that it will continue watching closely the situation on the spot.
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It was reported that a reconstructed checkpoint opened on March 31 in Zolote, on the road corridor between Stakhanov, Zolote, Hirne and Lysychansk in Luhansk region.
However, later on that day Heorhiy Tuka, head of the Luhansk regional military-civilian administration, said that the checkpoint closed a few hours after opening for safety reasons. "So as not to expose people to danger, it was decided to temporarily close the checkpoint in Zolote.... As we had promised, we opened the checkpoint in Zolote. For their part, terrorists did not," Tuka said.