National Security Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov on Friday came out in favor of introducing visas for Russians citizens prior to the start of the Ukrainian parliament's - the Verkhovna Rada - summer break.
"Undoubtedly, it is necessary to do this (introduce a visa regime with the Russian Federation) immediately and systematically, as it will simultaneously come into effect with the adoption of our visa-free regime with the EU. I certainly hope that the Verkhovna Rada will not go on vacation until they vote for this measure," Turchynov said.
Turchynov public endorsement of a visa regime for Russian passport holders comes on the heels of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk's lukewarm reception to the idea.
Kravchuk has championed Kyiv's newly introduced visa-free travel to the EU as an effective way of moving further from Russian domination but has been less-than-receptive to the idea that visas for Russians are needed to bolster Ukraine's national sovereignty. Kravchuk worries that if a visa regime is imposed on Russia, it could strain the fortunes of Ukrainian families, many of which depend on remittances from relatives living and working in the Russian Federation.
Support for introducing visas for Russians has gained vocal support from prominent members of the Ukrainian political and security establishment. Security Service head (SBU), Vasyl Hrytsak, has recently spoken out in favor of the measure, saying it would be prudent for Kyiv to require additional documentation from Russian citizens in light of Ukraine's deepening integration with European institutions.
"We are able to de facto visit Europe (without visas) on biometric passports starting from June 11. Why not introduce a requirement requiring citizens of the Russian Federation to hold at least similar documents to enter here [...] Such a measure could be taken at this point," Hrytsak told reporters in late May.