Ambassador Vinokurov (left), Minister Brantley (right) and Maria Lobova, owner of the Mill Café and Restaurant

A reception was held to celebrate the visa waiver coming into force for St. Kitts and Nevis nationals travelling into the Russian Federation on November 21.

The visa waiver agreement was signed in New York on September 21.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Mark Brantley, the St. Kitts and Nevis Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Vladimir Vinokurov, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to St. Kitts and Nevis.

The visa waiver scheme allows nationals of both countries to visit for up to 90 days without a visa.

Mr. Brantley said that the government wants to expand the federation’s diplomatic footprint, and that it is extremely important to develop meaningful relationships with countries other than the United States, Untied Kingdom and Canada.

“It behooves us as a small country to develop friendships with those that share our ideals, and friendships with those that we think can advance the interest of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. In the case of the Russian Federation, I think we have done so quite successfully,” Mr. Brantley said.

“So I feel very proud at this very historic time in our country when we celebrate our ability to move freely between Russia and St. Kitts and Nevis. What that does, is it really allows our people to engage with each other. We are all about people to people contacts because we feel that ultimately it is the best diplomacy.”

Mr. Brantley also made a call for more Russians to visit St. Kitts and Nevis.

Mr. Vinokurov said the agreements are extremely important to Russia, as they promote better relations with other countries.

“We have actually a good relationship but geographical distance and the fact that there are no direct airlifts between our countries of course, hamper the practical interaction and exchanges between our people and the agreement at least in part alleviates this situation and that is why it is so important,” he said.