Ukraine Tightened Rules for Travel to Russia for Its Citizens

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Since March 1, Ukraine has tightened rules for travel to Russia for its citizens. Now Ukrainians will be able to travel to the Russian Federation only upon presentation of a foreign passport. The decision to tighten travel rules was made in December 2019. Thus, the agreements between Russia and Ukraine on the terms for visa-free travel, in force from 1997 to 2011, were suspended. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko explained the need for these measures allegedly by bureaucratic problems in the old method of control using internal passports. Prime Minister OleksiyHoncharuksaid this would also reduce the time for border control. In addition, travel with biopassports will prevent those trying to hide or suspected of breaking the law to leave the country. It should also prevent the use of false internal passports and birth certificates. In December 2019, Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk announced that from March 2020, Ukrainians will be able to cross the border with Russia only with a foreign passport. At the same time, it will be possible to cross the border using internal passport when turning back. According to the director of the consular service departmentof Ukraine’s foreign ministry Serhii Pohoreltsev, the existing simplified regime of trips to Russia amid “armed aggression of the latter” is a threat to the national security of Ukraine. He also said that the number of cases of detecting faked birth certificates and internal passports is growing every year, so this measure is necessary. At the end of November 2018, Kiev restricted entry to the country for male citizens from the Russian Federation aged 16 to 60. As deputy head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs Serhii Yarovyi noted, about 1.6 thousand Russian citizens were not allowed into the country during this restriction period.