Poland seems unwilling to restore the local border regime with Russia’s Kaliningrad region which is a setback for bilateral relations, Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said on Wednesday.
“My visit to Warsaw is possible if there are certain grounds for that, I have met with my Polish counterpart twice,” Titov noted. “He made some statements on behalf of the Polish government saying they want to open a new page in our relations. But in fact nothing happened, moreover, our relations have even deteriorating, starting from their war on the Soviet monuments to the fact that our cooperation has been stalled because of Warsaw’s position.”
“Another important aspect of the Russian-Polish relations is that they suspended the fast-track travel regime for the residents of the border territories (for residents of the Kaliningrad region and the adjoining regions of Poland). They said it was a temporary decision taken in view of the NATO summit,” the Russian deputy minister noted. “Now they have sent us a signal that they are unwilling to restore the border regime. It is a very serious setback in relations between our two nations.”
In 2012, Moscow and Warsaw signed an agreement on the principles of border travel between the Russian region of Kaliningrad and the adjoining Polish regions. The agreement simplified border-crossing procedures. Residents of the Kaliningrad region and the adjoining regions of Poland could cross the border presenting only their passports and permissions to stay in Poland for a period of up to 30 days during one trip, or up to 90 days in a six-month period.
On July 4, 2016, Poland suspended the local travel regime on the borders with Russia’s Kaliningrad region as well as with Ukraine, citing the need to ensure security during the NATO summit in Warsaw (July 8-9) and the Catholic World Youth Day in Krakow (July 26-31). In response, Russia also suspended the agreement. The Polish Interior Ministry later said that the border travel regime with Russia would not be restored for security reasons and in order to combat the smuggling of cigarettes and gasoline. Russia’s foreign ministry stated that Moscow saw no reason for such decision.