“Be prepared for a shock”: the driver described in detail the land corridor to the Crimea


“I will say right away that this is by no means a fun and exciting journey, as many people think,” says Vadim, who carries goods along the land corridor in his Gazelle. – If you are coming from Russia, as we say, Rostov-on-Don will be your guide, and then you need to go towards Taganrog to the first checkpoint Veselo-Voznesenka. This is the border with the DPR.

At the checkpoint, as Vadim says, you can get stuck in a traffic jam. Once he stood at Veselo-Voznesenka for 7 hours.

“But every time is different. If you arrive at the Veselo-Voznesenka checkpoint by 4-5 o’clock in the morning or even at night, then crossing the border can take from 15 minutes to one hour. And it does not matter what you arrived in, in a light car or in a truck. At first, everyone stands in the same queue, and only then the flows are separated, a separate lane is allocated for cars.

While you are standing at the entrance to the inspection point, an organized column can go, which is being formed in the Rostov region. Trucks, trucks go in a stream without a queue, a “green corridor” is organized for them. Military columns pass in the same way.

There is another checkpoint “Uspenka”. From Taganrog you need to go towards the village of Matveev Kurgan, take it to the right.

– There are long queues at Uspenka, and smaller ones. But, in order to then go to the Mariupol highway, to the new road, you will have to drive past Donetsk, past Volnovakha. Therefore, mostly people go through Veselo-Voznesenka.

As our interlocutor says, as soon as you have passed the checkpoint, it’s time to remember about the curfew.

— Depending on the region, it is valid either from 10.30 pm to 5 am, or from 11 pm to 4 am. That is, if you crossed the border at night, stand on the side of the road and go to bed. During curfew, you can not go further.

At 5 am everyone wakes up and heading for Mariupol. The road was made good there, there are no questions. Somewhere – 2-3 lanes, somewhere – 4 lanes. It happens that one lane for eight kilometers is occupied by trucks that follow from Mariupol. Trucks can stand there for inspection for several days.

Vadim warns that immediately after the Veselo-Voznesenka checkpoint, the video recorder must be removed from the car.

— Shooting further is prohibited. Some objects may fall on the camera. The military may take your DVR away from you, they may ask you to remove the USB flash drive from it and force it to be cleaned.

Our interlocutor also notes that demining continues in the fields in the new territories.

– There are flags. So, going out to need or to take a picture is not recommended. Stop only in parking lots. And in general – sat down and drove. You reach Mariupol, and then the road goes through the city.

Get ready to be shocked. Now, of course, many collapsed, charred buildings have already been dismantled. There is active construction going on. But when I drove there for the first time last year, I wiped away tears. And I went through Afghanistan, I saw a lot. The wife who was with me just sobbed. There was grief in the air.

Bypassing Mariupol, as our interlocutor says, you already get to the highway that goes to the border with Crimea.

– Between Mariupol and Dzhankoy, you will have 12 checkpoints where the military is stationed. Two or three stripes narrow to one, forming a “bottleneck”. Stop almost every car. They check your passport, they look at you, they can check the car. If you travel by freight transport, they can see what kind of cargo you are carrying. All this takes time. And there will be 12 such checks, at each checkpoint.

After all, it is not known where you came from to the track, there are quite a lot of adjacent roads. You need to remove the cover from the passport, the document should be at your fingertips all the time. No need to argue with the military. There is no need to prove anything to them, to say that you have already been checked seven times. It is better to grab something tasty for tea for the guys, only in closed packages. They will be glad.

Everyone, they watched you, wished you a happy journey, and you went. There, only from Melitopol you will need to go to the left. And then you will already drive along the highway to Dzhankoy, without turning anywhere.

The Chongar checkpoint, which is located on the administrative border of Crimea and the Kherson region, has resumed its work since July 3. (After the Ukrainian Armed Forces fired on the Chongarsky bridge on June 22, traffic was blocked there, the roadway was being repaired, the builders completed it in 10 days instead of 20 planned).

While Chongar was closed, trucks went through the Perekop checkpoint. Cars and regular buses passed through the Armyansk checkpoint, which is plus 130 kilometers.

– The road near Armyansk has remained since the time of Ukraine. Drivers left their wheels there, smashed suspensions, cars sometimes had gas tanks torn off. And there are 30 kilometers of such impassability.

Now “Chongar” is open, the shortest and most convenient transport corridor from the Kherson region to the Crimea goes through it. But there you will stand in a passenger car along with wagons and trucks in exactly the same queue as at the Veselo-Voznesenka checkpoint.

Then the streams are separated. The inspection is underway again. Plus, in front of Chongar, on one section of the route several kilometers long, the road is still being repaired. There is a traffic light, reverse traffic is organized. First they let cars pass on one side, and then on the other.

Again, if there is a convoy or military transport, you will let them through. You can pass the checkpoint there in 15 minutes, and stay there for 5-6 hours. And traffic jams in the southern regions, in the heat, are another adventure. On weekends, by the way, it is freer.

After 40 km from Chongar, as Vadim says, it will be Dzhankoy. And then – to whom where. From this town in the north of Crimea to Simferopol – 89 km, to Yalta – 183.

Our interlocutor notes another important detail that many do not know about.

– Where there is a land corridor, you can forget about your insurance – OSAGO and CASCO. Theoretically, you have it, but you are unlikely to wait for the traffic police there. I would advise everyone, when a column of military equipment is coming, to stop so that you are not accidentally hooked. There is a serious technique, and a stream.

Agrees with Vadim and our other interlocutor, Igor, who also carries cargo along the land corridor, travels every week from Simferopol to Rostov-on-Don and back.

“On the road there you can see abandoned cars, although they are trying to clean them up,” says Igor. – Many of those who are going to go to the Crimea now by land ask me strange questions. They ask, for example, if there are campsites there. They are interested in whether it is possible to stop somewhere between the checkpoints. Or they ask if there are speed limits there, if there are cameras hanging there.

I answer all at once: people, there is a zone nearby where a special military operation is taking place. Over the same Mariupol, air defense can work. We saw it, got impressions of a lifetime.

The same “Chongar” in June was fired upon by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. It was at night. People were standing near the checkpoint, there was a curfew, they flew in nearby. There, a hundred kilometers from the road, fighting is going on.

Igor says that it is mandatory to take water, food and gasoline with you on the road.

— There are gas stations on the highway, but it is better to take cash with you, because bank cards do not work everywhere. The Internet is unstable there, somewhere you can catch it, but somewhere it is not. It’s the same with communication. If there is any threat of a missile attack from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, everything around is simply silenced. And I would advise everyone to download offline maps in advance.

Vadim admits that those who are going to go to Crimea along the land corridor also write to him in a personal.

– They have a vacation on their nose, in their eyes, as they say, the sea splashes, they perceive the road as a kind of journey. One woman, for example, asked if there were any chain cafes on the highway? People don’t understand basic things.

One scorcher proved to me yesterday that he would reach Sevastopol in one fell swoop. It will go 200 kilometers an hour. Where is there to go at such a speed? Between checkpoints? What if there is a truck ahead? 700 of them pass through the land corridor per day.

I told him that he would not reach Sevastopol in one fell swoop. He gave me the schedule. From the checkpoint Veselo-Voznesenka to Mariupol – 80 kilometers. From Mariupol to “Chongar” – 312. From “Chongar” to Sevastopol – another 214 kilometers. In total, you need to drive more than 600 kilometers. And you will also have to stand at checkpoints, at roadblocks. I told him that the way to Sevastopol could take him, taking into account traffic jams, up to 17 hours. And if a massive tourist flow is launched along the land corridor through the new Russian regions, it is quite possible that the entire route will get stuck in one big traffic jam.

Van driver Leonid is more optimistic.

“I think that this is a completely safe route,” says Leonid. – Previously, posters cut the eye, where it was written “stop is prohibited, shelling zone”. But as long as I travel here, I have not seen a single funnel, not to mention arrivals.

When military columns are walking along the highway, it is better, of course, to snuggle up to the side of the road, there is a lot of oversized cargo, cars can casually scribble along the side of the road. No one will stop and understand.

And the road is good. There are mobile “catering points” on the track, you just need to know the places, the hostesses can sell you pies or whites by pulling them out of the can. Pour tea from a thermos. If pressed, you can spend the night in a hotel in Mariupol, and have lunch there. And we treat queues at checkpoints philosophically, otherwise there won’t be enough nerves.

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