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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Slovakia Imposes Visa Rule

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - The Slovak Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that it would impose a visa regime on citizens of Russia and Belarus from January 1.

The government had signalled earlier this year that it would require visas from Russian visitors. Russia said then it would reciprocate with visa rules for Slovaks, also from January 1.

Slovakia introduced a visa regime with neighbouring Ukraine June 28.

The government has said all the visa moves were aimed at harmonising the country's policies with the European Union, which it hopes to join within the next few years.

Government officials have also said the visa regimes with former Soviet republics should also help combat alleged organised crime and curb illegal employment.

Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda was reported earlier this year as saying some 100,000 Ukrainian nationals were working illegally in Slovakia at the time, and a further 6,000 had been declared persona non grata, which opened them to deportation.