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Kremlin says Belarus decision to cancel visas for some countries is its 'internal affair'

January 10, 2017, 15:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Kremlin spokesman has left unanswered the question if the Russian authorities were prepared to follow in Belarus’s footsteps

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Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov

Russian president’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has left unanswered the question if the Russian authorities were prepared to follow in Belarus’s footsteps to open its territory to the nationals of some foreign countries, including EU members, for brief visits without obtaining entry visas.

At the same time, as follows from what Peskov said, the very existence of such an institution as the Union State left no doubt that Minsk had held all required consultations with Moscow before taking such a step.

"I’m unprepared to answer this," Peskov said, when asked if Moscow might follow suit.

Peskov described Minsk’s decision to open the country’s territory to brief visits by the citizens of some countries as "absolutely an internal affair of Belarus."

"There is the Union State as an institution, and we are certain that all the necessary regimes were taken into account when the decision was made," Peskov said.

He said he was certain that "in making such decisions the whole process was arranged in a way that will rule out a projection of the visa-free regime to our border."

About whether Belarus had coordinated its actions with Russia Peskov said that "since our services maintain permanent, day-to-day coordination, including that within the Union State, there should be doubts on that score."

Earlier, Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko signed a decree on the establishment of visa-free trips into and out of Belarus for the citizens of dozens of countries.

The Belarussian presidential press-service said the citizens of 80 countries, including all EU member-states, and also Brazil, Indonesia, the United States and Japan, were free to enter and leave Belarus without visas through the border checkpoint at Minsk’s international airport provided their stay in the country’s territory lasted for no more than five days.

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