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Foreigners can reach Russia via Belarus by train or plane - not by car or bus

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On October 26, Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko was in a car traveling via Belarus to Moscow. She crossed the Ukraine-Belarus border without a problem. But when she reached the non-existent Belarus-Russia border, Russian border guards turned her back and she was unable to pass non-existent passport checks. The head of Belarus Border Control Committee press office Aliaksandr Tsishchanka had the following to say on this situation:

“There are no border posts at the Belarus-Russian border. It means there are no passport checks. Most likely, Russian border guards carry out border checks as part of migration controls. Therefore, on their territory, they have the right to carry out migration control activities in accordance with their internal procedures."

As it turns out foreigners that travek in transit by car via Belarus to Russia will not be allowed into Russia, because there are no international border posts at the Belarus-Russia border. The nearest international border post is at the Minsk international airport. Nadiya Savchenko had to make a U-turn and drive from the border to the airport in Minsk and take a Belavia flight to Moscow.

Are there many travelers turned by Russian border guards back to Belarus? Officials at the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) met this question from Euroradio with suspicion.

FSB: “One should check what the purpose is for you to seek this information…I need to be convinced you have positive intentions…”

Euroradio has learned that Russian border guards can check passports at the border with Belarus even of the passengers traveling in cars with Belarusian number plates:

“I have asked them several times: “Guys, what is this?” And they say they have these measures against terrorism. When asked what nationals they detain here, they said they did not allow Ukrainians to pass here,” BelTOLL manager Siarhei Bury tells Euroradio.

This restriction applies only to those traveling via Belarus to Russia by road. Bus tickets will not be solde to foreigners for the routes in transit via Belarus to Russia. Even in Minsk you will not get a bus ticket to Moscow unless you are a citizen of Belarus. But if you travel by train from Minsk to Moscow, there seems to be no problem. At least, when asked if I can buy a train ticket to Moscow for myself and my Ukrainian friend, the Information Desk attendant told the following to Euroradio:

“Yes, tickets will be sold. To Moscow, there are no customs and no border.”