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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukrainians Free to Travel

KIEV -- Ukraine will this month lift the final barriers inherited from the Soviet Union that restricted the rights of its 52 million citizens from traveling to Europe and North America.


Exit visas will no longer be required and external passports, one of the most prized Soviet possessions, are to be given to any citizen applying for one. "There are no longer hurdles. Ukrainian citizens are free to travel where they want", Petro Sardachuk, of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.


Technically, Ukrainians, like Russians, have been free to travel since Jan. 1. However, the country's government has yet to fix a price for passports, though the cost is expected to be in the region of 5, 000 coupons ($5).


As well as special passports for diplomats, parliament deputies, other government functionaries and factory directors will be eligible for special business passports, a relic from Soviet times. However, financial restrictions and a strict vetting of visas by host countries are likely to prevent many Ukrainians from traveling abroad.


Even once they have a visa from the country of their choice, Ukrainians are likely to find leaving the country a problem. Queues along the border with central and southern Europe are measured in days. One Ukrainian Cossack dance troupe recently canceled a tour of Italy after being told they would have to wait at least 10 days at the Hungarian border.