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    Putin Expresses Full Support to EU Visa-Free Regime for Ukrainians

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    Putin's 2016 Annual Year-End Press Conference (72)
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin fully supports EU visa-free regime introduction for Ukrainian citizens.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he was fully supporting introduction of a visa-free regime by the European Union for Ukrainian citizens.

    "As regards EU visa-free regime for citizens of Ukraine, I fully support it. Moreover, I believe that the visa regime in Europe is an anachronism of the Cold War period, and we need to get rid of it as soon as possible," Putin said at an annual press conference.

    Moreover, the influx of the workforce from Ukraine to Europe may increase after the Ukrainians get the right for visa-free travelling in the European Union, which will seriously increase the pressure on the bloc’s labor market, Russian President Vladimir Putin added.

    "In case Europe introduces visa-free regime and if [the people] there earn more, even the people from Russia will try to move there, not speaking about those willing to move from Ukraine to work in Europe. This is a serious labor-market pressure," Putin said at the annual press conference.

    Commenting on the issue of the possible increase in the inflow of the workforce from Ukraine to Europe, Putin said that "of course, it will increase."

    Putin added that in case Ukrainian citizens were granted the right to conduct visa-free trips to Europe, it would be the "right move in the right direction."

    The EU-Ukraine dialogue on visa liberalization was launched in 2008, while in November 2010 the European Union proposed Kiev an action plan for granting visa-free regime. The European Commission confirmed that Ukraine met all necessary conditions in December 2015. According to diplomatic sources, Ukraine could be granted visa-free regime in early spring of 2017.

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    Putin's 2016 Annual Year-End Press Conference (72)

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    press conference, visa-free regime, Cold War, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine
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