Russia strengthens its border with Belarus

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Series Details 08.02.17
Publication Date 08/02/2017
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On 7 February 2017, an order from the head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Aleksandr Bortnikov came into force, establishing a border security zone along the border with Belarus.

Such a zone had existed until 1995, and was abolished as a result of the integration of the two countries, crowned by the creation of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. According to Moscow, the purpose of restoring the zone, in which the movement of people will be subject to restriction and supervision, is to prevent illegal migration in connection with Belarus’s liberalisation of its visa policy (a decree by President Aleksandr Lukashenko will be implemented on 12 February, thanks to which citizens of 80 countries who fly to Minsk by plane will be able to stay for five days in Belarus without a visa).

Russian has insisted that the decision does not mean the introduction of border controls, and will not affect citizens of Belarus and Russia, who will travel between the two countries on the basis of the existing system. President Lukashenko strongly criticised the establishment of the zone; he described the decision as politically motivated, and said it has violated already existing bilateral agreements.

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ESO: Background information: Rising tension in the relations between Belarus and Russia

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