Three Times in the state, Anna is already on Track 1. Three Times she was rejected. With a Russian passport nobody with come, had to listen to the 71-Year-old from the train Conductors. The Ukrainian night train from the Kursk station in Moscow went without them in the approximately 740 kilometres to the South of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

But Anna is not a woman who is easy to dismiss. Every year she goes in December to now-80-year-old cousin, you exchange gifts, spend a couple of days. So the family tradition.

so Far, Anna has always managed somehow to preserve this Tradition, even after the annexation of Crimea by Russia over four years ago, and the Moscow-funded and-backed war in the Donbas, in the meanwhile, more than 10,000 people were killed. And you want to make it again – a few days after in front of the Crimean Peninsula by Russian border guards three Ukrainian military ships rammed and fired upon.

attempt number four

The feisty lady is in the evening at the Track 1. All were afraid, just wanted to do nothing wrong, says Anna. “The top one makes a decision, and at the bottom you don’t know what to do.” Your full name, does not want to call them, as so many prefer, from fear of difficulties for your family.

“the top,” says Anna, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He has imposed after the Declaration of martial law in ten border areas of the country subject to an entry ban. Officially it only applies to Russian men from 16 to 60 years. The government in Kiev wants to prevent Moscow builds up on your floor “private armies”.

“Bottom” – the Ukrainian conductor. Why you have refused again and again, Russian women take, do not say. On demand, they explain, “recommendations for travellers”.

This Time she let the petite woman in the wagon to climb. Anna wants to read, a little bit of sleep.

The train departs. Up to the border, it will take more than ten hours, with just six cars, it goes in the direction of Belgorod, the last Russian town before the border. Located just 40 kilometers away.

the train station in Belgorod

No clear rules

“Let me?”, an older gentleman with grey hair and a fur hat asks the bus station in front of the Belgorod railway station. “Are you over 60 years old? Then, Yes,” the Ukrainian bus driver to calm down. “Because I’m way over it,” smiles the man with the red passport.

All of the messages to know about Rejected. Journalists and scientists were able to provide the invitations, but also older men and women, to funerals, and medical treatments, had the appropriate papers. Actually, the humanitarian reasons are to be made for the exceptions. But in times of escalation rules do not seem to apply, they are, at best, a kind of a landmark. Indeed, the case decides – and that scares many, even if there are positive exceptions, such as students of Kharkiv universities, which were interviewed for hours by Ukrainian border guards and then were purely.

especially women climb into the Bus, as in the case of Anna’s train, many of the Ukrainian women with their blue passports. 14 buses travel daily over to Kharkiv, many of the places remain to this day, empty.

Bus to Kharkiv

Who do not need to, not in the Ukraine

Also, the “Taxi-Mafia” has little to do. So Oleg announced the dark-clad men waiting in the snow cold on passengers to the border. Who do not need, is driving in the Ukraine. Oleg, 50 years old, Kursk, must. His mother had suffered a stroke, he says. Oleg knows that the chances with his red Russian passport. He was in the army.

Poroshenko has declared martial law now for the first time, finds Oleg too late, but right. So he is in the minority, many of the people ranting here about the Ukrainian head of state, who wanted to distinguish themselves before the presidential election at the end of March. The – and the Version that the Russian state television presented is let – from Americans taxes. Long it comes to the reasons of the conflict, the Russian aggression. Who was to blame? A lot of waving. You only see, what does all this mean for your everyday life: “The Ukrainians are crazy, the locks for us,” says a taxi driver.

On the escalation of Kerch addressed Oleg says: “This was an incident. Look at the Thousands of incidents in Donetsk and Luhansk.” He writes the daily exchange of fire, reports on the support of Russia for the separatists with weapons and money. “Russia is a strong country, the Ukraine is so weak. How to attack a civilized country with a weak neighbor? We are brothers peoples.”

ripped through the Region

Nearly half of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Belgorod Region, it is called, have relatives on the Ukrainian side. The border is 40 miles distant metropolis of Kharkiv, with 1.4 million inhabitants, was the point of reference of many Russians in the border area. You went for shopping, went out, flew from Kharkiv in the holiday. Belgorod takes for a claim to have an international airport, but of the approximately 15 flights a day, most go to Moscow.

Andrei Majsak knows the stories of the Russians, the land now at the Kharkiv airport and not allowed to enter. Artem, 30 years old, came at night from the Egypt vacation with his wife, both of them had an invitation from the Ukrainian aunt. The wife of Artem not be allowed to enter allowed. He had to fly on the Minsk to Moscow and from there to Belgorod. The whole day he was on the road of 23,000 rubles cost him the more than 300 Euro in the Russian regions it is more than a month’s salary. In October 2015, the Ukrainian and Russian airlines are not allowed to fly directly from the Ukraine to Russia.

Majsak, a 37-year-old lawyer, moved with his family extra in a village in the Belgorod region – on account of his son. The small town is located close to the four-lane M2, which leads to Kharkiv and further on the

Andrei Majsak with his son

Crimea. There is not much going on around lunch time. Only two Times, the driver has to operate the windshield wipers, because a passing has left a vehicle slush on his windshield. At the border, a single Russian official at the barrier, and he let a car pass. Two women dragging suitcases through the snow.

Tougher rules

Previously, you had to wait up to two hours at the border crossing, told Majsak. He had to watch how Kiev after the aggression of Moscow announced the rules for Russian citizens stricter:

In April 2014 after the annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian border guards stricter rules for Russian men aged from 16 to 60 years. They have been interviewed since then, in more or less detail, many but were able to cross the border. In 2015 the Ukraine-Russian citizens banned the entry with ID card. You must now present a passport.

From a “crack” speaks Majsak, was hard to bear. He regularly drove earlier to Kharkiv. His six year old son, Igor, is autistic. He needs every three months, therapies. That’s why the move. In neighboring Kharkiv, there is a special clinic. “There are very good Doctors that we have here,” says Majsak.

He would have with his son to St. Petersburg or Moscow, in order to guarantee a similar supply of his child. That’s a long way and three times more expensive than in Kharkiv, where the week-long treatment costs around one thousand euros. Therefore, his wife is now driving with Igor in the hospital. “But what if she is no longer sick?”, ask Majsak.

Ukrainian border guards

travel not cancelled

He wants in the Ukraine. “Nobody knows what happened. What if I’m detained? I got the family.” Officially already more than 1000 Russians have been rejected, but such Figures tell us little, if there are only a few to try. Many have cancelled their trips to the new year in the Ukraine.

On the 28. December to end the war. It is then more relaxed, does not believe Majsak. “Peace it is until we get a new President. The Ukrainians will soon have elections that are democratic, but…”

at Least good news there is that day. Anna logs on by phone: All right, she says. She was allowed to remain after some of the discussions in the train.

she managed once again to Kharkiv.

employees: Katja Kuznetsowa; Tatiana Sutkovaja

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.