Russia has managed to wring a number of concessions out of Lithuania over the issue of travel between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia. This was announced today at a press conference by Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian President's special representative for the Kaliningrad Region. Rogozin said that Russia has managed to preserve a visa-free transport regime not only on paper but in practice as well. He also said that 'we have managed to make significant progress regarding the procedure for receiving a Facilitated Transit Document (FTD).'
Lithuania had insisted that Russians would have to contact the relevant authorities twice for the transit document: first to provide personal details, and then 24-36 hours later to receive their FTD. Lithuania has now agreed that the application procedure should only involve one visit. The FTD, which will cost EUR 5 and be valid for three years, gives its holder the right to make multiple transit journeys across Lithuania. Rogozin stressed that the main change conceded by Lithuania was that Russians would no longer need to prove that they genuinely needed to make private journeys between Kaliningrad and Russia. Instead, they will simply have to indicate the purpose of their journey.
'All these changes will be incorporated into the Schengen Agreement,' Rogozin stressed. He believes that the new transit system is a compromise on the part of both countries. Rogozin also underlined the need for Russia to sign a treaty on readmission of illegal immigrants with Lithuania as soon as possible in order for a final agreement to be reached. He predicted that this document would be signed within a week.
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