Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, who made a one-day routine visit to Kiev on Friday, says he has convinced the Ukrainian authorities to let Moldova citizens enter Ukraine with their old Soviet passports until January 1, 2004.
Kiev's newly regulations, requiring foreign passports and visas for the entry into Ukraine starting July 1, 2002, came as a shock to the residents of Moldova, particularly the Ukrainian community, accounting for thirteen percent of the republic's population. Moldova-based Ukrainians visit their relatives in the neighbouring Ukraine on a regular basis. The problem is that not everyone in Moldova can nowadays afford a foreign passport, as the fee charged for the service is half the nation's average wage.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969