MINSK, 2 February (BelTA) – Belarus was given no prior notice of Russia's decision to set up border controls along the common frontier, Maria Vanshina, deputy spokesperson for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said when asked to comment on Russia's unexpected decision to establish border controls on the border with Belarus, BelTA has learned.
“I think there is no reason to dramatize the situation. We are analyzing the document,” Maria Vanshina said.
“At the current stage, I would like to underscore two important points. First of all, Russia made a decision to set up border controls along the frontier with Belarus without any prior notice, which was in violation of all our agreements regulating the protection of the state borders of the two countries and establishing the border crossing rules. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. We saw a similar situation in early 2016 when Russia actually began to impose restrictions on the entry of third-country nationals through the Belarus-Russia border. Given the level of direct cooperation between our border guard services and their reciprocal representation, such lack of coordination in the actions naturally raises reasonable questions,” Maria Vanshina said.
“Secondly, many have the impression that these actions lead to the restoration of full border controls on the Belarusian-Russian border abolished more than twenty years ago. This runs contrary to a number of existing agreements on the open border between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation,” Maria Vanshina noted.
“I would like to emphasize that it was not Belarus' initiative,” she added.