Russia to be strict about visas for EU airline crews from December 1 - diplomat

Russia is introducing a strict visa regime for crewmembers from EU aircraft on Dec. 1, Foreign Ministry Ambassador Anvar Azimov told reporters on Tuesday.

"We said at the beginning that the regime would be valid from Nov. 1. Mostly, crews had visas. But in some cases they did not, so we decided to meet them halfway and make November a transitional period," he said.

"Russia will stop being flexible on Dec. 1," he said.

Russia has bilateral agreements on visa-free travel for crews with the majority of EU member states, "but five or six countries do not have such agreements," the diplomat said. "The European Commission has been entitled to hold the negotiations until we sign a visa relaxation accord, and chooses not to sign bilateral agreements with us. Hence, we will not allow a single EU country (which has not signed the bilateral accords) to sign them," Azimov said.

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