MOSCOW, January 17 (Sputnik) — The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry released a statement Friday saying that European countries have been rejecting Ukrainians' applications for Schengen area visas, adding that visas are being annulled due to Ukrainians' violations of Schengen Area's rules, Ukrainskaya Pravda has reported.
A statement from the ministry's press service noted that "we have seen a growth in the number of cancellations of Schengen visas for Ukrainian citizens. The procedure occurs at the airports of EU countries, resulting in border guards forcing Ukrainians to return home for violating Schengen legislation," according to Ukrainskaya Pravda.
The Schengen area is comprised of most of the European Union's member states, although it also includes Switzerland, Norway and Iceland and excludes Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta and the British Isles.
Ukrainskaya Pravda notes that the problem has also been prevalent in German airports.
Ukrainian authorities have recently stated that attempts to use forged or fraudulently received Schengen visas may result in up to five years in prison.
In December, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry noted that it has been working on the issuance of passports which would include the biometric data of Ukrainian citizens seeking a Schengen visa. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed his hopes that "this is the last step which the EU is waiting for from Ukraine to grant us a visa free regime." He noted that he hopes that such an agreement may be signed between the EU and Ukraine at the May 2015 Eastern Partnership summit in Riga. Over 230,000 biometric passports are expected to be issued by then, Ukraine's First Channel has explained.