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Moscow readying response to Kiev’s introduction of visas for Russians

Andrey Rudenko noted that Russia would shape its moves based on its interests

MOSCOW, September 9. /TASS/. Moscow is considering how to respond to Kiev’s introduction of visas for Russians, weighing whether the response should be tit-for-tat, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told reporters on Friday.

"We are currently discussing this issue with various agencies. Naturally, we will take into account an entire range of factors, including humanitarian ones. We don’t want to make it harder for Ukrainian citizens who want to leave the country or the combat zone and come to Russia. For them, obtaining visas would be a difficult process, especially now that we don't even have an embassy in Kiev," he noted.

"We will shape our moves based on our interests. It’s not necessary to do everything in a tit-for-tat manner, as the president said, speaking in Vladivostok," Rudenko went on to say. "The question is whether the response will or will not be tit-for-tat."

The diplomat said a decision hadn’t been made yet. The agencies that are involved in the talks on the issue include the Russian Foreign Ministry’s consular department, the border guard services and the Interior Ministry.

"This happens. Things aren’t always necessarily symmetrical in diplomatic practice, there’s also asymmetry," he pointed out. "This happens in practice when things don’t have to be tit-for-tat. And as the president said: why [should we] shoot ourselves in the foot? We benefit if people come to us and see what’s happening. Why take the path that the EU is following?"

Ukraine introduced visas for Russians effective from July 1. The decision was made by the Ukrainian government and proposed by President Vladimir Zelensky. The Ukrainian government asserted that visas are required to counter threats to national security. Moscow said that the move had indicated that Kiev officials are unreasonable.