EU blocked visa-free regime with Russia for artificial reasons, Moscow says

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MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. The EU has blocked the agreement on establishing a visa-free regime with Russia under made-up pretenses, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday during his speech for the Association of European Businesses.

The Russian foreign minister noted that Russia and the EU have been negotiating a visa-free regime for a long time, with Brussels imposing a series of conditions on Moscow. “The EU stated the need to introduce a visa-free regime only for those citizens with biometric passports, we agreed to it. Then the EU urged us to lower the number of citizens travelling with service passports, which we also have done,” Lavrov explained.

“Another EU’s request was about an obligatory agreement on readmission between Russia and the EU, with executive protocols made with every EU member country. And we agreed to it as well,” the Russian top diplomat noted. “Despite all this, when everything was ready, and Brussels had to make a decision on signing this agreement, it was blocked.”

According to Lavrov, the Baltic countries stood in the way of signing such an agreement. “Their position was based on one very simple formula: they thought it unacceptable that Russia would get a visa-free regime before Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova,” the Russian foreign minister noted. “If these are not artificial obstacles in the way of free exchange, then I don’t know what else is there to say.”.

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