FAQ for foreign journalists about entrance to temporarily occupied areas and ATO
IMI has received answers from the government about the correct procedure for foreign journalists for entrance to the temporarily occupied territories, the ATO area, the Donetska oblast from the side of Russia, and for visiting Crimea. The answers were provided by the Ministry of Information of Ukraine.
1) What is the general procedure for legal and unobstructed entrance to the temporarily occupied territory where the ATO is conducted?
According to the Temporary Procedure of the Security Service of Ukraine, entrance to the uncontrolled territories, and exit from it of the citizens of Ukraine are conducted under condition of presenting passport documents that identify the individual and the permit. According to the resolution of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, documents for receiving a permission to cross the confrontation line in the East can be filed in an electronic form at the website of the Security Service of Ukraine (https://urp.ssu.gov.ua/ua/registration/). If citizens of Ukraine present their documents and the data on such individuals is entered into the electronic register, they have a right to free and unobstructed crossing of the confrontation line through checkpoint and entrance-exit control point.
2) What is the procedure for unobstructed and legal entrance to the temporarily occupied territory where the ATO is conducted, for foreign journalists?
According to information of the Security Service of Ukraine, the procedure for entering the temporarily occupied territory is the same for citizens of Ukraine and for foreigners. The journalists need to go through the standard border crossing routine based on the Temporary procedures.
3) What sanctions threaten foreign journalists for entering Donetska oblast from the side of Rostovska oblast of the Russian Federation?
Part two of article 14 of the Law of Ukraine «On legal status of foreigners and individuals without citizenship» states that foreigners and individuals without citizenship in case of illegal crossing of the state border of Ukraine outside the checkpoints at the state border of Ukraine are to be detained, and in case their violation of the Ukrainian legislation does not constitute a criminal offence, are to be returned to the country they stayed in previously, according to the established procedure.
Entrance to Ukraine for such citizens and individuals without citizenship is to be forbidden for the term of three years.
FYI, due to lack of opportunity to conduct governmental control at some sections of the national border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation, entrance to the territory of Luhanska and Donetska oblasts beyond the confrontation line is conducted according to the Temporary Procedure for control over transportation of individuals, vehicles and cargo (goods) across the confrontation line within the limits of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts approved by the Decree of the Anti-Terrorist Center and the Security Service of Ukraine, as of June 12,2015 No.415.
In particular, according to the provisions of the Temporary Procedure, a person who got into the uncontrolled territory in violation of the legislation of Ukraine in effect and the Procedure, can be denied exit from the uncontrolled territory.
4) How to visit the Autonomous Republic of Crimea legally and without obstructions: what is the procedure, and is it necessary to inform the Border Guards about such visit?
The procedure of entrance for foreigners, including foreign journalists, to the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is outlined in the Procedure for entrance to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and exit from it, approved by the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as of June 4, 2015, No.367.
Clause 3 of the mentioned Procedure defines that entrance to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, and exit from it, of foreigners and individuals without citizenship is conducted through checkpoints (the list of them is provided in the Appendix to the Decree), based on a passport document and a special permit issued by the territorial body of the State Customs Service or a territorial branch of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in Novotroitskyi or Henichenskyi rayons of Khersonska oblast.
Subclause 7 of Clause 21 of the Procedure defines that the special permit is issued in case of necessity to conduct journalist activities only with approval or on request of the Ministry of Informational Policy.
To receive the special permit, a foreign journalist needs to file to the territorial body of State Customs Service:
1) application based on form provided in Appendix to the mentioned Decree;
2) passport document (returned upon presentation);
3) document certifying the legal status of stay on the territory of Ukraine;
4) a copy of passport page or of the ID document for individuals without citizenship, detailing the personal data of the individual, complemented with translation into Ukrainian, certified according to the established procedure;
5) approval or request from the Ministry of Informational Policy (original); to obtain the approval from the Ministry of Information, send applications to infoATmip.gov.ua or popovaATmip.gov.ua.
6) three photos of the individual, sized 3.5 x 4.5 centimeters.
Issuing of special permit, or making decision on rejection of permit, is conducted within five working days since receiving of all documents defined by the Procedure.