Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an interview with Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday called on the European Union (EU) to determine visa scrapping terms and schedule.
The Kremlin has made visa-free travel between Russia and the EU a foreign policy priority.
"We deem that visa abolition must become not the end, but the start of the Russian-EU integration process. Actually youth, including pupils and students, will benefit from the freedom of travel," Putin told Suddeutsche Zeitung.
"Today visas do not affect big business, but the small and medium businesses, as well innovation companies, are extremely affected."
Putin also said that establishing visa scrapping terms and a clear schedule will help Russian and EU law enforcers to strengthen cooperation on migration, terrorism and drug trafficking issues.
The article coincides with Putin's participation in an annual economic forum for heads and top managers of leading German companies organized by the paper. The forum will run from November 25-26 in Berlin.
Putin will also hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit.
Russia submitted a draft agreement on scrapping the visa regime to the EU at the Russia-EU summit in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don on May 31.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rebuked the EU in September for dragging its heels on the issue, saying that Russia wanted a "clear answer."
MOSOCW, November 25 (RIA Novosti)