March 30, 2014 14:39
Moscow not informed about EU plans to issue visas to Crimea residents via Kyiv - Lavrov
MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - No official notification has arrived in Moscow about the European Union's plans to issue Schengen visas to residents of Crimea exclusively through Kyiv, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"No decision has been made yet, as far as I know. But speculation of this sort has gotten round, in a rather original manner, I would say. Some claim that rules should be introduced, requiring each Crimean applicant for the Schengen visa to travel to Ukraine, visit the consular service and get the visa after producing the Ukrainian passport," Lavrov said in an interview with the Voskresnoye Vremya program on Russia's Channel One.
"Statements are also being made that European Union travelers can visit Ukraine without a visa and that Ukraine has unilaterally offered the visa-free regime to European Union countries. But the visa regime holds for Crimea," he said.
"Such approaches are being discussed publicly and seriously," Lavrov said.
"They are not talking with us, however. They are discussing this within their inner circle, arguing that they will make a decision, which must be enforced. This is unacceptable. It is a crude violation of human rights. People who live in Crimea and who opted to switch to Russian citizenship, have nothing to do with geopolitics. They want to live in a country that matches their cultural and linguistic interests and 'genetic fund.' If the European Union takes such steps we, I am sure, will retaliate in a way that would make it clear to the European Union that these crude violations of human right will not pass," Lavrov said.
Lavrov also said that the discussion of the issue of visas for Russians planning to travel to Ukraine, did not go any further. Asked whether Russia could introduce visas for Ukrainians, he said, "It would be stupid, in my opinion." "I think this idea is no longer alive in Kyiv. It must have been raised in the heat of the debate, but it has been rejected and is of no importance now," Lavrov said.
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