Russian President Vladimir Putin supports visa-free travels for Ukrainians to the European Union countries, saying it would be a move in the right direction.
“As for visa-free travels for Ukrainian nationals on the part of Europe, I fully support this. Moreover, I believe the visa regime in Europe is a Cold War anachronism, which must be left behind as soon as possible. If the Ukrainian nationals get the right of visa-free travels to Europe, I think this would be a right move in the right direction,” the president said at his annual news conference.
However, if Ukrainians don’t get the right to work in Europe within the framework of visa-free travels, they will find themselves socially unprotected, President Putin said.
“Preliminary figures alone put the number of Ukrainians working in Russia at three million. And if Europe launches a visa-free regime, and earnings there are higher, of course people will try to move there, even from Russia. Needless to say about those who want to move to Europe for work from Ukraine,” Putin said, noting that this would be a serious burden on the labor market in Europe.
“If they don’t get the right to work, then people going to Europe from Ukraine for work will be by default put into a humiliating situation. This means they will have to work illegally, in other words they will be going (to Europe) for three months within the terms of visa-free permission, and then be getting back to Ukraine to register and immediately return. This means they will work illegally and won’t be socially protected, it will be a cruel exploitation,” Putin said.
If the EU allows visa-free entries, then it should also grant the right to work, Putin said.