KIEV: Ukraine’s government on Tuesday announced tough new rules limiting the documents Russians can use to enter the country in a move likely to stoke further tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
From March 1 Russians will no longer be able to enter Ukraine on their internal identity documents and will instead require a passport for overseas travel, a government decree said.
Surveys estimate that over 70 percent of Russians do not possess such a document.
“This will allow us to considerably reinforce (border) checks and ensure Ukraine’s national security,” said Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Russians could previously travel to Ukraine for 90 days on their identity card or a birth certificate for a child.
The move will likely affect several million Russians, especially those near Ukraine’s border where many families have relatives living on both sides of the frontier.
Kiev and the West accuse Russia of providing the separatists with arms and regular soldiers, something Moscow denies.
Only 28 percent of Russians possess an international passport, while 76 percent of Russians have never left the borders of the former Soviet Unions, according to a study by the independent Levada centre published in April last year.