The Russian FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov ordered the creation of the border control zone between Russia and Belarus, the media reported on 1 February. Border control zones will be designated in Bryansk, Smolensk and Pskov regions along the border with Belarus. The Belarusian side did the same in 2014.
Regional border guards will have to set locations and time for entry and passage of persons and vehicles in the border zone, and organize the installation of warning signs.
The document is directed at the creation of the conditions to protect the state border of the Russian Federation and prevent crimes, the fight against which is in the responsibility of border agencies, an explanatory note to the document says.
Russia has border control zones with Ukraine in Bryansk region and with Latvia and Estonia in Pskov region.
As for Belarus, in September 2014 President Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree that established a border area within the administrative-territorial units adjacent to the state border of Belarus and Russia. The decision was explained by the necessity to create conditions for the work of border officers and organize effective interaction with Russian border authorities in order to detect and prevent illegal migration, drug trafficking and cross-border transportation.
Later Russia introduced passport control for passengers of Minsk-Moscow flights, which didn’t exist because of the Union State between the two countries.
Before that, Russia started diverting foreign nationals coming from Belarus by car to the international checkpoints, even if they had a Russian visa. The change was explained with a sharp increase in “risks linked to terrorist and migration issues”.
The Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs considered the measure “excessive” and said that the Russian side found the problem where it “did not see it for two decades” – namely, in the absence of international chekpoints on the border between Belarus and Russia.
In the opinion of Sergei Lavrov, the Head of Russian MFA, the problem will be resolved with the creation of a common visa space of Belarus and Russia.