All the misunderstandings over transit travel across Lithuania have come about due to passengers' lack of information. This was the conclusion reached by Deputy Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Mikhail Tsikel and Lithuanian Consul in Kaliningrad Vitautas Zhalis after their trip together to Vilnius on the Kaliningrad-Moscow train.
'The situation when crossing the border is not as dramatic as people are saying,' said Mr Tsikel at a press conference yesterday. 'The simple problem is that the information about the new regulations for transit travel, as specified in the agreement reached on December 30, 2002 between Russia and Lithuania, has not yet reached all the departments which are supposed to provide information to passengers. Misunderstandings are also arising as a result of Russian citizens' failure to take the necessary documents with them."
According to Mr Zhalis there is no possibility that the new regulations for Russian children and soldiers traveling across Lithuania will be reviewed. 'Lithuania has shown as much flexibility as possible in negotiations with the Russian foreign ministry but our position on this issue is quite firm,' said the consul. 'We insisted that children have their photographs in their parents' passports as we don't consider birth certificates to provide adequate identification of a child. There is no question about their eligibility for transit travel. Parents must simply take responsibility for their children and Russia agreed to this in the negotiations. As for soldiers, they are not even mentioned in the agreement as it was decided by both sides that they would travel on the same basis as other Russian citizens, by showing their passport. '
Mr Tsikel said that a special order from the Russian president could solve the problem of having children's photographs in their parents' national passports with the necessary stamp and such a proposal will be made in Moscow in the next few days.