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Russia Begins Issuing Passports to Crimeans, Ukraine to Set Up New Visa Regime

Published: March 20, 2014 (Issue # 1802)



  • Ukraine said it would introduce a visa regime with Russia.
    Photo: Lider.mk

Russia has started handing out passports to residents of Crimea, while Ukraine said it would introduce a visa regime with its former Soviet neighbor following Moscow's takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.

Ahead of the introduction of full-fledged visa requirements, Ukraine's government has ordered its Foreign Ministry to develop regulations "within hours" that would require Russian citizens to carry special passports instead of domestic identification papers to enter Ukraine, head of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy said Wednesday, Interfax reported.

The Foreign Ministry "has been ordered to implement this decision in the shortest time that is technically possible," he said.

Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship, which means that Crimeans who choose to receive Russian passports may have to apply for a visa to visit their former homeland.

Head of Russia's Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky said his agency had opened up offices in Crimea to hand out Russian passports to "everyone who applies," Itar-Tass reported. A batch of passports has already been issued, he added.

Russian issues two types of passports: a domestic one, which is the main identification document for Russians at home, and a separate one for traveling abroad. Applications for foreign-travel documents usually take at least a month to process.

Parubiy said Ukraine had also decided to leave the Moscow-led alliance of former Soviet states, the so-called Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, that was formed after the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union.

Another former Soviet republic, Georgia, has also left the regional alliance, after Moscow supported the separatist drive of two of its territories in 2008.

Ukraine would seek United Nations support for turning Crimea into a demilitarized zone, Parubiy said, Reuters reported.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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