Speaking in Kaliningrad at the joint session of Lithuanian parliament and Kaliningrad's Regional Duma, Richardas Degutis, a department head from the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, said that the matter of the opening of new Russian and Lithuanian consulates in the two countries must be resolved before July 1, 2003.
Mr. Digutis further said that Lithuania's joining the European Union and NATO must not create any problems as concerned the trips of the two countries' citizens. With this in mind, Lithuania is prepared to expand its consulate in Kaliningrad and open a new one in the town of Sovetsk. However, Russia's Foreign Ministry has not officially agreed to this.
Mr. Degutis further said that Russia had already decided to open her consulates in the city of Kaunas and at the Russian-Lithuanian border, in Taurage.
The Lithuanian diplomat said his country would create simplified conditions for the Kaliningrad Region's residents to travel. In order to cross Lithuania going to mainland Russia, these people will not pay for visas and will not need invitations to receive them. However, in order to travel to the Kaliningrad Region, residents of the other regions of Russia will have to pay for visas. This is exactly what they do even now, unless they travel by special trains. Regularly, a Lithuanian visa costs EUR 15, EUR 25, if needed urgently.
Nearly every day there is some retired American military General on the news doing an interview about the Ukrainians “taking back” Crimea or “pushing out” the Russians or claiming 1991 borders “must be respected” for the dispute to end