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MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. Moscow is waiting for a final decision from Kiev on the issue of expanding Ukrainian entry rules for Russians, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"We proceed from the fact that if the decision is taken, we will study it and think of how to respond," she noted. "Hypothetical rhetoric on such issues is just out of place here, because the political climate in Ukraine is changing, the atmosphere remains unstable, so let’s wait for the decision or non-decision on this issue."
According to the diplomat, Kiev’s statements on this issue "have been changing." "Even the position of [Ukraine’s] Foreign Ministry on this issue has been shifting," Zakharova explained.
According to Zakharova, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said at first that imposing a visa regime was not necessary and could backfire on Ukraine itself. "Then, perhaps due to some political situation or the build-up of some domestic processes within this country, statements began to go in the opposite direction. Appeals to hammer out some kind of visa regime or hybrid visa regime appeared," she explained.
Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Alexander Turchynov stated in July that Ukraine would impose preliminary registration for Russian citizens wishing to visit the country as of January 1, 2018.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin earlier proposed establishing an electronic platform which will oblige Russian citizens to inform in advance of their intention to visit the Ukrainian state, and the People’s Front faction in Verkhovna Rada argued for imposing a visa regime with Russia and demanded to look into this proposal in the parliament.
Commenting on the visa introduction initiative, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier stressed that if Kiev makes this move, Moscow will respond in kind. Upon that, he reiterated that 2-3 million Ukrainian refugees live in Russia.