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Russia outlines response to EU visa restrictions

Tit-for-tat steps would be against Moscow’s interests, President Putin said

Russia won’t impose any visa restrictions for foreign citizens as a retaliation to similar EU-imposed measures, Vladimir Putin declared Wednesday.

At the Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok the Russian leader stated clearly that Moscow wouldn’t allow anyone to force their will upon the country. He indicated that Russia only wants to do what is best for its interests. According to him, Russia won’t impose visa restrictions upon foreign citizens.

[Russian Foreign Minister]Sergey Lavrov is likely to get mad at me because the Foreign Ministry behaves in a tit for tat fashion: If we are spat upon, we spit back,” he stated, referring to the EU’s decision to suspend a visa deal with Russia over the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

We don’t have to do any thing that isn’t in our best interest,” Putin added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow was happy for foreign businessmen and students to visit Russia. “Many businessmen love Russia and are willing to work there. Welcoming,” he added, with the last word being said in English.

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They should be allowed to come and work. They shouldn’t be restricted. There’s nothing wrong with it,” he stated, adding that those who sever ties with Moscow isolate not Russia, but themselves.

Putin said Tuesday that he would also direct the Foreign Ministry’s assessment of the possibility for establishing visa-free travel arrangements for foreigners, regardless of reciprocity.

Russian president made these comments after Tuesday’s approval by the EU of a proposal to suspend a deal with Moscow, which had permitted Russian citizens to apply to visas using simplified procedures. Russians must now pay more and have longer travel times in order to visit the EU.

The bloc itself did not declare a complete ban on visas, but several member countries, such as Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic have stopped issuing visas for Russian citizens.

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