Moscow links the terms of signing an agreement with the EU on readmission with promotion of visa-related issues.
"The readmission agreement is not an end in itself but one of the links of transition to the visa-free system," Russian foreign ministry official spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told a Saturday press conference.
"We are considering these two issues as a single package and will try to synchronize the speed of moving forward in regard to readmission with [the speed of] moving forward in regard to the visa track," the diplomat said.
He recalled that talks on the readmission agreement are being held between Russia and the European Commission in line with decisions of the November 2002 and May 2003 Russia-EU summits.
"The essence of the agreement on readmission is that Russia and the EU agree to take back their citizens who are illegally staying on the territory of the other party, as well as citizens of third countries or stateless persons who entered the territory of the state of one party from the territory of the state of the other party," Yakovenko said.
"You understand this is not a simple problem, as it is connected with big expenditures. Realization of readmission agreements supposes creation of an extended infrastructure. Here, we are also interested in interaction with European partners," the diplomat said.
"We will be ready to sign this agreement when we get guarantees on the terms of cancellation of visas in regard to mutual travels," Yakovenko concluded.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23