Ukrainians granted visa-free travel in the EU

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By Emma Clark
Ukrainians granted visa-free travel in the EU

Ukrainians have been granted visa-free travel in the EU, as the country moves towards greater integration with the West.

The European Parliament on Thursday gave final approval to ease travel restrictions, allowing Ukrainians with e-passports the right to visit most EU states for up to 90 days, for tourism or business reasons.

The United Kingdom and Ireland, both outside of the Schengen Zone, are not included in the deal.

The visa-waiver, which does not give Ukrainians the right to work in the EU, is expected to come in to force this summer.

The pro-Western government in Kiev is moving closer to the EU and NATO, as its confrontation with Russia over the annexation of Crimea continues to simmer.

Three years of fighting in Ukraine’s industrial east since has killed more than 10,000 people.

Kiev’s Europe Minister Ivanna Klympush Tsintsadze said the vote on Thursday was “a strong signal to the agressor that Ukraine is on its way back to the European family.”

But a weak economy and endemic corruption hinders the country’s chances of joining the EU, with some states unwilling to further anger Ukraine’s Soviet ruler.