Russia's President Believes Kaliningrad's Problem May Be Resolved if Russia Joins Shengen Treaty

According to Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, our country is prepared for the most radical ways of resolving the problem Russia's citizens will face travelling to mainland after Lithuania and Poland join the European Union. The President made a statement to this effect while meeting on July 11 with the members of the Council of Federation of Russia.

According to Nikolai Tulayev, the Senator from the Kaliningrad Region, a participant of the meeting, 'The President approved of the decisive position of Russia's Senate as concerned the rights to free travel over their own country of the residents of the Kaliningrad Region'. The senators believe that the introduction of visas for Kaliningrad Region's residents is the violation of their rights and the use of double standards on the part of the leaders of the EU.

President Putin remarked that 'This problem could be resolved if Russia joined the Shengen Treaty', adding that 'The EU can not have more against Kaliningrad residents than the US have against Latin Americans who enjoy the freedom of travel over the continent. There is a common fundamental problem of illegal immigration from third countries and Russia is prepared to work out effective measures to counter that'.

The President concluded by saying that 'Because Russia's joining the Shengen Treaty may be a lengthy process, which can be completed only on the basis of a partnership, free visaless travel of the residents of the Kaliningrad Region to mainland Russia and back must be assured in the meantime. Russia is prepared to assume responsibility for protecting the route from illegal immigrants'.

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