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Eastern Ukrainian residents allowed to enter Russia visa-free
Residents in eastern Ukraine with valid identification documents are allowed to enter Russia without visa starting Saturday, the Kremlin announced.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order on temporarily recognizing identification documents issued by eastern Ukrainian authorities to permanent residents, according to a Kremlin statement.
As a result, Ukrainian citizens and stateless persons permanently living in certain parts of eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Lugansk regions can enter the Russian Federation without applying for visas, it read.
Putin's order was "guided by universally recognized principles and standards of the international humanitarian law and in order to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals.
"The decree will stay in force until the Minsk deal on Ukrainian settlement has been implemented.
The Kremlin said the government will "take necessary measures" to enforce the executive order, which came as conflicts between Kiev and independence-seeking insurgents in eastern Ukraine have flared up in recent weeks.
Putin's decree is a "violation of international law," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
But the order was well received in self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) and the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).
[Source: Sputnik News, Moscow, 18Feb17]
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