Visa Regime for Russian Citizens Comes into Force in Ukraine

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The agreement between Ukraine and Russia on visa-free travels, signed in 1997, has ceased to apply. Visas can be obtained in eight Russian cities or in third-party countries. In Ukraine, as of Friday, July 1, visa regime for Russian citizens began to operate. This terminates the bilateral agreement on visa-free travels, signed by both countries in 1997. VFS Global, an independent international intermediary company, issues visas. Russian citizens can apply to its visa centers in eight Russian cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Novosibirsk, Rostov-on-Don and Samara. And Russians in other countries can visit the Ukrainian diplomatic institutions in these states, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko earlier informed DW. A visa does not guarantee entry, the final decision will be made by the Ukrainian border guards, noted earlier at the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. In turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation stated it could take possible retaliatory measures, “based on the Russian national interests and considering the humanitarian component”. Kyiv’s previous proposals on visas for Russians Back in 2014 MPs of the Verkhovna Rada proposed introducing a visa regime and severing diplomatic relations with Russia, but the measure was not implemented. In 2016, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the introduction of such a regime was impractical, as it could entail similar actions by Moscow and the transfer of a large number of Ukrainians working in Russia to Russian citizenship. Officially Kyiv broke off diplomatic relations with Moscow on February 24, 2022 –  the first day of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine. In mid-June, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed that the government change the rules for Russians entering the country, and the cabinet approved the decision. DW