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Russia surprised at Ukraine’s intention to introduce visa formalities

March 20, 2014, 17:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, March 20, 16:17 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia has expressed surprise and regret over Ukraine’s intention to introduce visa formalities.

“Russia studied the position of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council to introduce visa formalities for citizens’ mutual trips,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Thursday.

“Such actions only complicate contacts between millions of citizens of the two states — border, inter-regional and humanitarian,” the ministry said.

“We’ve not received Ukraine’s official reaction yet. By all appearances Ukraine wants to terminate the agreement on visa-free travel between Russia and Ukraine of January 16, 1997 and the protocol on making amendments to the mentioned agreement,” the ministry said.

On March 19, the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council took a decision to introduce a visa regime with Russia. “The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has been instructed to introduce a visa regime with the Russian Federation,” secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Andrei Parubiy said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said there was no need to be in a hurry to introduce visa travel formalities with Russia. “Measure thrice and cut once,” the premier said.

Verkhovna Rada deputy Gennady Moskal (Batkivshchina party) said the visa regime with Russia would get nothing. It can only lead to protests and rallies in the east and south of Ukraine and escalate tension inside the country, the deputy said.

“We’ve been too hasty. It is necessary to get cold a little,” Moskal said.

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