Ukraine Simplifies Visas for U.S. Citizens

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine said on Thursday it was making it easier for U.S. nationals to obtain visas, part of liberal President Viktor Yushchenko's plan to move the ex-Soviet state closer to the West.

A presidential decree posted on the government Web site said visas would no longer be required by U.S. citizens making a second trip within six months, provided the new stay in Ukraine did not exceed 90 days.

It said the measure was intended to develop a "strategic partnership" with Washington.

Citizens of EU states and Switzerland have been allowed visa-free entry to Ukraine on an experimental basis from May to September.

The president has said he hopes that move will prompt EU nations to lift their visa requirements for Ukrainians.

But the 25-nation bloc, anxious to maintain secure borders along its new eastern frontier and deter trafficking of people and drugs into member states, is highly unlikely to lift its visa restrictions in the near future.

Yushchenko, elected last December on a wave of mass protests against electoral fraud and revulsion at his predecessor's administration, has linked virtually every policy decision to a long-term plan to join the EU.

Source: Reuters