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Not as Rosy as Painted: Why EU Visa-Free Regime Will Soon Infuriate Ukrainians

© Sputnik / Alexey Kudenko / Go to the photo bankGirls look on at souvenirs in the underpass on Independence Square, Kiev. File photo
Girls look on at souvenirs in the underpass on Independence Square, Kiev. File photo - Sputnik International
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Ukrainians will be quickly disappointed in their country's visa-free regime with the EU after they face a wide array of problems upon entering the bloc, Kiev-based political analyst Mikhail Pogrebinsky told Sputnik.

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In an interview with Sputnik, Mikhail Pogrebinsky, head of the Kiev-based Center for Political and Conflict Resolution Studies, suggested that the numerous problems Ukrainians will face after entering the EU will lead to widespread disillusionment about their country's visa-free regime with the EU.

On Thursday, the EU Council approved the liberalization of the visa regime with Ukraine, allowing those who travel "for business, tourist or family purposes" to enter and stay in the European Union for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.

The regulation, applying to the Schengen area and excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom, allows Ukrainian citizens to travel to the EU for business, tourist or family purposes with a biometric passport.

At the same time, Brussels promised to suspend this visa-free regime for Ukraine if the country faces "serious issues" related to migration and security.

Speaking to Sputnik, Pogrebinsky said that after the visa-free travel regulation enters force, those Ukrainians who will travel to the EU may face the necessity of confirming their ability to stay within the bloc, among other problems.

"I think we should hear [Ukrainians'] impressions about the visa-free regime in the next few months. We will listen to many different complaints from people who have faced various troubles," Pogrebinsky said.

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He noted that while the visa-free regime will allow Ukrainians to take a vacation in the EU, it will not give them the opportunity to work or study in EU countries.

Earlier, Russian political analyst Vladimir Zorin told Sputnik that the European Union is tired of the political limbo in Ukraine and expects Kiev to take political action in exchange for Brussels granting Ukrainian citizens a 90-day visa-free visit.

"The EU is waiting for Kiev to do something in exchange for the visa-free travel. Brussels is tired of the current political and economic limbo in Ukraine, and the EU needs neither a frozen nor simmering conflict there, not to mention an open one," Zorin said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov, for his part, said that the EU's latest decision to grant Ukrainian citizens a 90-day visa-free visit is a "carrot on a string" that does little in the way of easing the current system.

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He pointed out that the restriction on the duration of stay remained and that the new regulations had "nothing to do with work authorization."

"We understand that the so-called visa-free regime with Ukraine is to some extent a carrot on a string that slightly eases the existing system," Meshkov said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow on Thursday.

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