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Ukraine-EU visa-free regime impossible without proper border with Russia — Ukraine’s PM

October 15, 2014, 18:15 UTC+3 KHARKOV
Arseniy Yatsenyuk made this statement during a visit to Kharkiv to inspect the progress of the Wall project supposed to stop illegal migration and arms trafficking
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© EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV

KHARKIV, October 15. /TASS/. Ukraine will not be able to agree on a visa-free travel regime with the European Union until it builds a proper border with Russia, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday.

Yatsenyuk, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and some other top government officials on Wednesday arrived in the Kharkiv region bordering Russia to inspect the progress of the Wall project.

“A visa-free regime with the European Union is impossible without emplacement of border infrastructure. Neither is it possible to tackle the issue of Ukraine’s possible membership in NATO. The goal of the (Wall) project is to stop illegal migrants, contrabandists, arms trafficking. The Wall is to be the first line of defence,” Yatsenyuk said.

At the international motor transport cross point Goptovka, border guards demonstrated machinery used to dig anti-tank ditches, equipment at block posts and border infrastructure outside cross points. Apart from that, border guards demonstrated a showpiece of a fence to be installed along the border under the project and informed the government delegation about plans to mount infrared cameras.

By now, a 80-meter long and three-meter wide anti-tank ditch has already been dug along the border with Russia, the UNIAN news agency quoted Sergey Moskalenko, a deputy chief of the eastern regional department of Ukraine’s state border service.

On September 3, Yatsenyuk announced plans to build a 2,295-kilometer long “real border” with Russia. The ground section of the border will feature a ditch at least four meters wide and two metres deep equipped with systems of optic electronic surveillance, towers and other structures. The sea section will be equipped with optic electronic surveillance devices. The project cost, according to Yatsenyuk, was estimated at 66 million euro.

The Wall project has already stirred up criticism in Ukraine. Thus, Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister and now the leader of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party said this project was doomed to be inefficient. Valery Khoroshkovsky, a former Deputy Prime Minister, said the project was unaffordable luxury.

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