At the end of a trip to Uzhhorod last week, Lviv mayor Andriy Sadovyi sent a letter to the president, prime minister and minister of infrastructure of Ukraine concerning the development of the transport and border infrastructure of Zakarpattia, the official website of the Self Reliance Union party reported.
“After the temporary loss of Crimea, this region could have become Ukraine’s alternative health resort. But it’s easier for residents of Kharkiv or Kyiv to get to Hurghada or Mallorca than to the thermals of Berehove or the ski lifts of Kostryna,” Sadovyi observes.
The letter points out that for more than two years, there have been no flights between Zakarpattia and the rest of Ukraine and the world. In this time, the Ministry of Infrastructure and UkrAeroRukh have been unable to set up the appropriate light signal safety systems at the Uzhhorod airport and certify it according to EU requirements, which is a prerequisite for renewing the agreement with Slovakia for Ukrainian planes to fly over its territory during take-off and landing.
The only international highway (M06) connecting Ukraine to Zakarpattia and south-eastern Europe cannot bear loads and is usually severely congested. The three other roads which go through the pass are in a deplorable condition.
With the opening of the Beskidy tunnel, Zakarpattia is waiting for the launch of InterCity trains, which would partially alleviate the logistical tension in the region. But this has not yet happened. Train journeys from Uzhhorod to Kyiv currently take more than 12 hours.
After the adoption of the visa-free regime and free trade, not a single new border crossing point has been opened on the western border, and the funds allocated by the EU to upgrade the existing ones have been partially unused and sent back.
“Such a situation stirs up dissatisfaction with the central government and a growth in separatist inclinations among the population – Kyiv’s administrative miscalculations have effectively created a national security threat in Zakarpattia. And so I call on representative of the highest level of government in the country to act to remedy the situation,” Sadovyi commented.