Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko expressed his displeasure with third-country nationals not being able to cross Belarus-Russia land border.
The head of state made the statement during the meeting with Chairman of the State Border Committee Anatoly Lappo and State Secretary of the Security Council Stanislav Zas on 14 November.
“In other words, if a foreign citizen – from Austria, Germany or Poland – crosses the border near Brest, he can be refused entry to Russia near Smolensk even if he has the Russian visa.
This person has to go back and enter Russia through the Latvia-Russia border or, which is weird, through the Ukraine-Russia border. How come? Everything seems to be fine, but this issue remains,” the president said.
He further expressed incomprehension why it takes so long to address the issue, when even Russians admit that Belarusians protect the border better than they do.
“This is a common space of Belarus and Russia. But they say: Go back and enter through Latvia. It is absolutely absurd. We need to tackle this issue together with Russians,” he stressed.
In 1995 Belarus and Russia signed the agreement on joint efforts in protecting Belarus’ state border. The agreement was automatically renewed every five years.
The document is running out in November this year, and before its renewal, the parties need to analyze the interaction between the border services of Belarus and Russia.
Lukashenko stressed that Belarus honours 100% of its commitments in combating illegal trade of drugs and weapons, illegal migration, and searching for stolen cars.
Strangest border in Europe
In 2017 Russia declared the introduction of temporary border posts with Belarus in spring 2018, explaining it by the concerns about the visa-free entry to Belarus for citizens of 80 countries.
The Russian side then insisted that foreigners should cross the border only through international border checkpoints (which are not present at Belarus-Russia border – note BelarusFeed).
Mutual visa recognition is still pending – when signed, the document is expected to resolve the need for two visas and add the possibility to use other transport besides aeroplanes.