Belarus’ introducing visa-free regime: Russia respects, but…

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Minsk’s decision to open the country’s territory short visits by the citizens of 80 countries as ‘absolutely an internal affair of Belarus’.

On January 9, Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed the decree ‘On the introduction of the visa-free entry and departure for foreign citizens’. The document introduced visa-free entry through the border checkpoint at the Minsk National Airport and the visa-free stay in Belarus for up to 5 days for the citizens of 80 states, including the entire European Union, Brazil, Indonesia, the USA, Japan.

“There is the Union State as an institution, and we are certain that all the necessary regimes were taken into account when the decision was made,” Peskov told state-run news agency TASS.

He expressed confidence that ‘in making such decisions the whole process was arranged in a way that will rule out a projection of the visa-free regime to our border’.

However, Maya Lomidze, the chief operating officer of the Association of Russia’s Tour Operators, was more straighttalking when making a comment on the neighbouring country’s decision. Russia might take ‘certain steps’ to prevent citizens of troubled countries from entering the territory of Russia, she warned.

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