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    Kiev Says Introducing Visas for Russia Will Cost Ukraine Over $56 Billion

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    The cost of Ukraine’s likely introduction of visa regime with Russia will amount to approximately $56.7 - 76.5 million, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s representative in the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Lutsenko said Friday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) – On Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the ministry was ready to implement the necessary procedures on introducing the visa regime with Russia in case such a decision is taken.

    "[Visa regime introduction] requires at least 1.5-2 billion hryvnias [approximately $56.7 — 76.5 million]. There are preliminary estimates… I do not understand the reason for doing it now," Lutsenko said, specifying the establishment of consulates and other institutions would also require funding.

    Lutsenko noted that the visa regime with Russia would complicate the movement of Crimea residents, who possess Ukrainian passports.

    On May 21, Ukrainian media reported that a vote on the abolition of visa-free travel with Russia could take place this week. The discussion was initiated by lawmakers of the parliamentary majority factions The Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People's Front party. However, the provisional agenda of the parliament's work this week does not have the issue of introducing visas with Russia.

    On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia will respond in kind should Ukraine introduce visa travel for Russian citizens, however, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin assumed earlier in the day that it was still too early to speak about Russian response measures to Ukraine's likely unilateral move.

    Yet in March 2014, Crimea held referendum on rejoining Russia, which ended with the overwhelming majority of the Crimean voters, 97 percent, supporting the reunification. However, Kiev and the West refuse to recognize the vote’s results and still consider Crimea a part of Ukraine.


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