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Russia Ends Express-Visa Program For Kaliningrad

Russia has stopped issuing short-term, three-day visas for visits to the exclave of Kaliningrad.

Moscow suspended the visas as of January 1, although local officials had asked that the "experiment," which was put into place in 2002, be extended.

Moscow has not offered any explanation for ending the program.

Under the program, citizens of the United Kingdom, Japan, or countries belonging to the Schengen zone agreement could apply for and receive the visas at the airport in Kaliningrad and at two road border crossings.

Local officials say about 1,000 such visas were issued each year and the number was growing. In all, about 550,000 foreigners visited the Russian exclave in 2013.

Kaliningrad is a region of Russia on the Baltic Sea coast that is surrounded by EU members Poland and Lithuania.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS