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    Senior Russian Lawmaker Calls EU Visa Waiver for Ukraine Just 'Symbolic Act'

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    The visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union is a "symbolic act" rather than a real change for Ukrainians, Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the Russian upper house of parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On May 11, 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.

    Russia’s deputy foreign minister described the step as a "carrot on a string" that does little in the way of easing the current system.

    "I think that we should be calm about the visa waiver for Ukrainian citizens by the European Union. It is rather a symbolic act than a radical change of the situation for the Ukrainians, taking into account the number of conditions and requirements that remain for them," Kosachev said.

    Kosachev noted that the visa-free regime would be an opportunity for Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko to remind the nation that that the visa waiver, a "century-old dream of the Ukrainian people" which was one of his main pre-election promises, was finally realized.

    Ukraine has been striving for integration with the European Union for years. The two sides launched a dialogue on liberalization of the visa regime in 2008 and the bloc proposed Ukraine a road map concerning the issue in 2010.


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    visa-free travel, European Union, Petro Poroshenko, Konstantin Kosachev, Ukraine, Russia
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