The introduction of biometric passports of Ukrainian citizens for travelling abroad is the key step in the establishment of the visa-free regime with the EU, as stated by the President. "The EU is waiting for this step of Ukraine in order to establish the visa-free regime with us," the Head of State has noted in the service center, which issues such passports.
The President hopes that the decision on the introduction of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU will be approved in May, in the course of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga. "Due to the introduction of biometric passports, all Ukrainians will cross the borders of Schengen Area without visas," the President said. He has informed that following the negotiations with Latvian Foreign Minister, the agreement had been achieved to include the given issue in the agenda of the Summit.
According to the Head of State, about 30 thousand passports will be issued in March and more than 200 thousand passports in April. The First Minister of the Interior Eka Zguladze has noted that the procedure of issuing such passports would be simplified and the number of centers responsible for their issuance would be increased.
Biometric passports have been issued for the citizens who have made a significant contribution to the development and strengthening of the state. The first biometric passports have been given to the team that has the right to represent Ukraine, as stated by the President.
The documents have been given to Maidan activists - Olesya Zhukovska, volunteer medic wounded by sniper; Vasyl Mykhalko, wounded by sniper on February 20, when he was helping his wounded fellow leave the shooting area; legendary "voice of Maidan", former Minister of Culture Yevhen Nishchuk.
The new passport has also been given to organizer of Pirogov mobile hospital Hennadiy Druzenko and member of the "Women's Hundred" Anna Kovalenko.
The biometric passport has been issued to immigrant from Crimea Khrystyna Mykhaylichenko – winner of international contests, who won the international piano contest in the Netherlands last week, and her mother Natalia Mykhaylichenko.
The new passports have also been given to world famous writer Andriy Kurkov, filmmaker, director of "Tribe" Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi, vocalist of Brunettes Shoot Blondes – Kyiv band whose video has become a worldwide sensation of social networks and received more than 6 million views on YouTube - Andriy Kovaliov.
The passports have also been issued to journalists Andriy Tsapliyenko and Oleksandr Argat.
Member of the "Women's Hundred" Anna Kovalenko called the issuance of biometric passports a symbolic event. "I am confident that it is a step towards our dreams," she said.
Journalist Andriy Tsapliyenko believes that these documents must become a signal for the people living in the Donbas. "I think that it is a signal for those who live in the East of Ukraine. The world is open for Ukraine and closed for the enemy," he noted.