Russia starts passport checks for air travelers from Belarus
Russian border guards have started checking the passports of visitors arriving at airports on flights from Belarus in what is described as a temporary measure.
When reached by BelaPAN on Monday, the press office of the Russian Federal Security Service's Border Service linked the checks to "multiple violations" by third-country citizens involving air travel from Belarus to Russia.
All travelers arriving from Belarus have their passports checked as Russian border guards seek to prevent third-country citizens from entering Russia illegally, said the press office.
Whether the checks will become permanent depends on possible agreements between the foreign ministries of Belarus and Russia, according to the press office. The ministries are currently discussing the matter.
It stressed that the measure was not linked to Belarus' decision to allow visitors from 80 countries to enter the country without a visa through Minsk National Airport if they plan to stay for no more than five days.
Anton Bychkowski, a spokesman for Belarus' State Border Committee, told BelaPAN that no passport checks had been introduced at Belarusian airports for travelers arriving from Russia.
In November 2016, the Russian authorities reintroduced passport checks on highways at the border with Belarus, turning away Russian-bound travelers from third countries.
Moscow insists that third-country citizens are required to enter the country only through international crossings, which do not exist at the Belarusian border.