Russia's Citizens Will Have to Obtain Visas to Go to Kaliningrad through Lithuania, Beginning January 1

Russian citizens will have to obtain Lithuanian transit visas to go by train to Kaliningrad and back, beginning January 1. This is according to the statement made today at a press conference by Viktor Yenkulev, Deputy Director of the passenger service of the Kaliningrad Railroad.

The government of Lithuania decided to unilaterally disaffirm the temporary agreement with Russia concerning the possibility for the citizens of the two countries to travel across the border without visas, which was supposed to go into force on January 1. The matter is still being discussed because, according to Mr. Yenkulev, no one yet knows how much the visas will cost and for how long they will be issued. Railroad cashiers have to warn ticket buyers trying to obtain their tickets up to 45 days ahead of time. Mr. Yenkulev said that the railroad will not sell tickets to visa owners only. The tickets may be returned to ticket offices at any time.

The change of the conditions of transit so far excludes Russia's citizens whose passports contain Kaliningrad Region's residential registration stamps. They will be able to travel without transit visas until July 1, 2003. Whether or not this privilege will last beyond that time, depends on the outcome of Russia-European Union summit in Brussels beginning on November 11.

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