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The Crimean citizen was not allowed to enter the mainland with Russian number plates that were in the trunk of his car

A resident of Crimea went from Crimea to mainland Ukraine in February 2017 on his personal car. To do this, in the buffer zone he replaced the Russian number plates obtained in Crimea, with his Ukrainian ones, which he managed to preserve.

After the residents of the peninsula, under the threat of fines and confiscation of cars, were forced to obtain Russian documents and license plates for their cars, the Crimean resident had already driven by car to the Kherson region and successfully replaced the numbers on the “neutral” territory – between the Ukrainian and Russian checkpoints.

A few days ago the Crimean citizen had to go to the notary to the mainland Ukraine, but Ukrainian customs officials did not allow carrying Russian car plates in the trunk.

Crimean resident told the Crimean human rights group his story, but for personal security he asked not to mention his name and surname:

“Arriving on the border from Crimea, I got the second number for registration. I did not have any questions from the side of the Russian customs officials. Only the Russian border guard asked if the Ukrainians would let me through with the number plates of the 82nd region. I replied that I have something to tell them, to which the border guard said that it is not by law. I did not argue with him, took the documents and went to neutral territory, which is only 20 meters. There, just like a month ago, I got out of the car and paid no attention to the silent views of the border guards on both sides, I changed the Russian number plates on Ukrainian – AK series.

After standing half an hour in the queue to enter the Ukrainian checkpoint, the Ukrainian border guards approached the car. One of them began, as usual, to photograph the car, and when I opened the trunk, he saw the Russian number plates in the package. He was surprised and said something like: “You stopped hiding it at all”. I told him that these are souvenirs, and they are not forbidden to transport. Then he began to photograph these number plates and loudly shout to his colleagues “Who need Russian numbers as a gift?”. There were no interested people. I reminded him that this is my property, my souvenirs, and these number plates are not attached to the car. He left and after passport control they told me to drive up to the customs officers. There, the senior shift immediately stated that they cannot let me in with the Russian number plates, since they are not included in the list of personal belongings approved by the CMU Decree No. 1035 and the Customs Code of Ukraine.

I tried to argue with him, said that this is a souvenir. But he led me to the window of registration, where there was a printout with a list of 23 personal items. He said: “Find the word “souvenir” here, and I will let you through.” Of course, this was not found. Interestingly, the disputed 24th item was absent on the list: “other goods for personal use … the list and quantity of which is established by the laws of Ukraine.”

The customs officer suggested me to fill the customs declaration and write down my “souvenir” on the reverse side, so that I can get a refusal card. From his words, the only option was to return to neutral territory and leave the numbers there. I talked with him for a long time, convinced him that if I leave Russian numbers on neutral, I most likely will not find them later, and the car will hang in the mainland Ukraine. As a result, the customs officer decided to help me and hold them for a couple of hours while I went to the border town to the notary.

In this situation, I was saved by the fact that I returned during the same shift. But what if the trip is for a day or more? Even if you drop number plates on the “neutral” territory and make duplicates of Russian number playes in Kherson, you will not be able to cross the Ukrainian border to exit – “Decree 1035″ operates in both directions.

The only legal way out is if someone from Crimea should take and bring the number plates to neutral territory. And, of course, it is necessary to abolish the discriminatory to Crimean citizens Decree 1035, so that rules common for all sections of the borders would operate on the Crimean administrative border: daily goods for the amount not exceeding 500 Euros or not more than 50 kg are allowed. And now it turns out that even though Ukraine considers Crimea to be its territory, but in fact treats its citizens worse than foreigners who pass through the border of Ukraine. ”

Let us remind you that the Crimean human rights group together with other Ukrainian human rights organizations prepared a draft of amendments to the Cabinet of Ministers resolution No. 1035 of 16 December, 2015 to eliminate the norms that unreasonably restrict the citizens of Ukraine. Human rights activists believe that there should be a list of prohibited goods, but not a list of authorized personal items. In addition, the Crimean human rights group repeatedly raised the issue of the situation of coercion of citizens of Ukraine in Crimea to receive license plates and driver’s documents of the Russian model. Many Crimeans had to take such documents, but they kept the number plates of the Ukrainian model for travel to the mainland of Ukraine. However, this situation has not been resolved, so the Crimeans themselves are trying to solve this problem by themselves in order to preserve the opportunity to leave Crimea.

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