Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksandr Turchynov believes that it is necessary to conduct a thorough check of all applicants arriving from the territories that are not under Ukraine’s control who wish to obtain a biometric passport, as reported on the website of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC).
According to Turchynov, after the start of Ukraine’s visa-free regime with the EU, the number of people from the Crimea and from the separatist-held territories of the Donbas wishing to obtain biometric passports has increased significantly.
"Without access to the archives that remained on the occupied territories, there is a danger that citizens of another country, terrorists or representatives of Russian special services could gain access to a visa-free regime by posing as Ukrainian citizens from the occupied territories," he said.
Therefore, he calls for amendments to the current legislation that will allow for more thorough verification of citizens coming from these territories. "If there is a discrepancy between the presented data, such citizens should be denied a biometric passport," the NSDC secretary stressed.
Turchynov said that he held a meeting with the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Migration Service, the Security Service, and State Border Guard Service of Ukraine on this issue. A corresponding draft law was prepared, which will be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada in the near future.
The visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU came into force on June 11. Citizens of Ukraine using their biometric passports can enter 26 EU member states without need of a visa, with the exception of Great Britain and Ireland. The participating nations are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden and Estonia.
Citizens of Ukraine with biometric passports will also be able to visit four more states that are part of the Schengen area, but are not in the European Union: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Ukrainians residing in the territories that are not under Ukraine’s control need to provide a birth certificate or a military passbook to confirm their identity when obtaining biometric passports.