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Ukraine to introduce visas for Russian citizens from July 1

Hromadske – The Cabinet of Ministers is to adopt a resolution introducing a visa requirement for Russian citizens on June 17, announced President Volodymyr Zelensky who earlier suggested reviewing the regime of entry of Russian citizens into Ukraine.

According to the planned decision, the visa regime will take effect on July 1, 2022. So far there are no details about the conditions of visas.

Even before the full-scale Russian invasion, there was a petition on the website of the President of Ukraine proposing to ban or restrict Russian citizens from entering the country. On November 11, 2021, it got the required 25,000 signatures. It was registered on November 2, ie the required votes were received in less than nine days.

In May 2022, Zelensky endorsed this petition. “Against the background of full-scale Russian aggression, the issue raised is important and urgent, so I support the need to strengthen the regime of control over the entry of Russian citizens into Ukraine,” Zelensky said at the time.

Background

The issue of introducing a visa regime with Russia has been discussed for over a year. Back in 2017, the then head of the Security Service, Vasyl Hrytsak, called for a visa regime, and the head of the Ministry of Justice, Pavlo Petrenko, said that the legal mechanisms for such a step were ready.

In addition, the then Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov said that the visa regime with Russia should be introduced as soon as possible. Moscow promised a “mirror response”.

However, in July 2019, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Danyliuk opposed the introduction of a visa regime with Russia — claiming that there was no such need.

Finally, on February 23, 2022, on the eve of the full-scale Russian invasion, Volodymyr Zelensky was asked about this. He replied that the authorities have many options for their further actions, but everything will depend on Russia’s behavior, as Ukrinform quoted him as saying.

It is worth noting that the visa-free regime between Ukraine and Russia has been in force since 1997.

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