No bathing during air raids – but beaches in southern Ukraine port reopen
The beaches of Yalta and Balaklava in southern Ukraine have reopened to the public after more than two years of closure due to the conflict in the region. The closures were put in place after Russian-backed separatists declared independence in 2014-2015 in eastern Ukraine. The government in Kiev saw the move as a sign of the rebels’ strong foothold in the region and as a result banned bathing at beaches so as to not raise their morale. However, residents of the region still had access to some swimming pools during the conflict. The resumption of beach activities in the area is being seen as a sign that some semblance of normality is slowly returning. The reopening has widely been welcomed by locals, with many people taking to the beaches over the weekend after the government officially lifted the ban. Lifeguards have also been deployed at the beaches, while swimming lessons are also being offered to locals at some locations. The military conflict in the region is still ongoing and there have been instances of shelling and fighting taking place on some parts of the coastline. As such, the government has advised those visiting the beaches to abide by warnings in regard to possible air raids or shelling and not to enter the water during these times.