Locals have come out to protect the bed of the Burulcha River in Mizhhiria in occupied Crimea. They are convinced, workers are trying to take out rubble under the pretext of river cleaning. This could damage the riverbed.

‘They’ve brought excavators here and want to take out inert materials on the sly. This will damage the riverbed. They want to take it away and utilise. Two days ago, they tried to enter the territory, but we called for a local police officer. He made report; workers parked their tractor and left. Yesterday they brought the second tractor, made a test pit, and the water quickly disappeared under the plate. The river has a specific form, there was no dike here in the Soviet times, because of unstable soil’, Mikhailo from Mizhhiria says.

Russian authorities in Crimea have not made any official comments yet.

‘We have nothing against strengthening of the riverbank, on the contrary we would support this. But they can’t explain us, who and why can take out this material, they even don’t have any permits. What rules and regulations can we talk about, when a tractor enters the riverbed? If they bring their excavators again, the only thing left for us is to lay down in front of them’, Mikhailo adds.

Villagers are determined to resume protests, if heavy machinery operations continue.