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Russian Lawmaker Queries Police Foreign-Trips Ban

Russian Duma Deputy Aleksandr Khinshtein has officially asked Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev to explain why police across the country have apparently been banned from visiting most foreign countries.

In a letter to the minister posted on Khinshtein's website on February 16, the lawmaker asked Kolokoltsev to explain the travel ban, which apparently affects even officers that do not have access to classified information.

No official order restricting travel has been published by the Interior Ministry. However, media reports last week said special instructions restricting travel were issued on February 6. There have been scattered reports of police officers being prevented from travelling.

According to Khinshtein's letter, police officers are only allowed to visit member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Russia recognized as independent in 2008.

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