MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. Kiev’s move to ban entry for Russians on national passports will only escalate tensions and prompt Moscow to introduce response measures, a member of the State Duma committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs and compatriots said on Tuesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers announced that since March 1 Russians will be allowed to enter Ukraine using only their foreign passports. The holders of diplomatic and service passports, as well as seaman's identity cards and flight certificates, will be allowed into the country.
"As for any possible response steps, certainly, we are already close to switching to visa regime and the work upon foreign passports," said Vasily Likhachev, who is a former Russian envoy to the EU.
The lawmaker said the decision announced by the Kiev authorities on Tuesday will "encourage the adoption of relevant procedural and legal measures on the part of Russia."
The Ukrainian government’s move "affects a great number of people, the Russian citizens who used to believe and still many of them think that Ukraine is a friendly state to Russia," Likhachev said.
The latest move against Russian citizens should be considered as any other Kiev’s "unfriendly and non-pragmatic steps" that hamper bilateral relations and signal that the Ukrainian leadership is not seeking to normalize ties, he said.
Ukraine’s decision also shows the government’s wish to "bury in oblivion the whole history of our truly brotherly and friendly relations," the Russian lawmaker stressed.