Ukraine might set a visa regime for the Russian citizens seeking to enter the country if necessary, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says.

In an interview with Ukrainian “24” news channel on Thursday, Yatsenyuk said Kiev is ready to introduce visas for Russians if need be.

“If there will be need to introduce additional means of control, including a visa regime, it will be introduced,” the Ukrainian premier said.

He said Ukraine is satisfied with checkpoint controls on the Russian-Ukrainian border, adding that implementing the Wall project, which presupposes constructing an actual state border between the two countries, is of priority.

Kiev, for the first time, introduced the visa regime in March, following a referendum in which Crimea’s largely Russian-speaking residents voted to break away from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

Speaker of the Lower House of the Russian Parliament Sergey Naryshkin described the introduction of the visa regime as “silly,” saying such a move will hamper the cooperation between the two countries.

“This silliness does not serve goals to develop cooperation between… our countries at all,” Naryshkin said.

Tensions between Kiev and Moscow heightened after Crimea’s integration into Russia. The relations between the two countries were strained further after Ukraine launched military operations in mid-April to silence pro-Russia protests in Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east.

The United States and the European Union accuse Russia of destabilizing Ukraine and have slapped a number of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects the accusation and has imposed retaliatory punitive measures.

MOS/HJL/KA

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