Crimea today: “Artek” without children, armoured cars for sale and the Ukrainian flag over Simferopol 

Bohdan Lu, for “Fakty” 

The out-of-office correspondent of “FAKTY” shared his impressions about the trip from Kyiv to the occupied peninsula.

I hitchhiked from Kyiv to Crimea by car. Along the road, at traffic police posts there are reinforcements made out of sandbags. Frequently, people in army camouflage can be seen next to the traffic police.

Our old “Ford” was not stopped by anyone. It seems that luxury cars evoke more interest. The close to the south, the more frequently we see roadblocks with sandbags. Night falls. After Kirovohrad the armament at the roadblocks is more serious: we see armoured personnel carriers and missile systems. In Kherson oblast, there is a lonely roadblock on one of the empty parts of the road. The lights of our car spot two soldiers in the darkness. They are sleeping without a care in the world next to the bags.  Continue reading

Many people ask me what life is like in Crimea now. I answer as well as I can, in a conversational manner. 

Crowds of pensioners siege the post office every day, they are given their pensions in roubles, but in the Ukrainian amount (if I did not overlook anything). Prices on everything are growing by the minute. The utility bill that came was 4 times bigger than the previous ones, all the utilities have become several times more expensive. The kindergarden – twice as expensive. Sources of revenues are closing down. Money transfer and payment of bills is ridiculously difficult, everywhere there are lines with lists starting at 6 a.m. There is very little rouble mass, the Russian SberBank makes us buy Hryvnia (to give out the rouble transfer) at a ridiculously high rate. Establishments demand payment in roubles, the exchange points steal more at reverse conversion. There are no more happy shouts of “we are finally in Russia!” to be heard. They have gone quiet.

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