Ukraine’s new border restrictions regarded as “new Berlin Wall”: Russian FM

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Ukraine’s plans to tighten border crossing on Russian citizens is an attempt to set up a “new Berlin Wall”, Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

“Kiev continues to persistently bend the vicious line towards severing contacts between millions of citizens of the two countries,” the ministry’s Information and Press Department said in a statement published on the website.

Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council on Monday proposed to introduce biometric passports for foreign citizens crossing its border, which would supposedly affect Russian citizens primarily.

In the statement, the Russian ministry accused Ukraine of intending to build a new “iron curtain” just to prevent normal human and related communication between the two countries.

“Culture and ties between people have remained bridges for establishing relations both at the state level and civil society level at all times. Attempts of Ukraine to fence itself off with the ‘new Berlin Wall’ are very unfortunate,” it said.

“We will be watching closely how they will comply with the provisions of the current bilateral agreement of Jan. 16, 1997 on visa-free travel of citizens of Russia and Ukraine,” it added.

According to Russian senator Franz Klintsevich, Russia will consider a retaliatory response to Ukraine’s decision, which could affect up to 4 million Ukrainians working in Russia.

Relations between Moscow and Kiev have been exacerbated since 2014 when Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum, but Ukraine insisted it was illegally annexed by Russia and remains a Ukrainian territory.

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