Europe

Russia establishes controls on border with Belarus

Russia's main domestic security agency has established controls on the border with Belarus in response to that country's decision to abolish visas for short-term travelers.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, has established a full-fledged border protection regime between the two ex-Soviet neighbors, according to documents released by the government Wednesday.

Russia and Belarus have maintained close political, economic and security ties and had no controls on their border until now. The move follows Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's order last month to abolish visas for citizens of 80 countries, including the United States and European Union nations among others.

The move vexed Russia, where some officials saw it as a potential security threat.

Relations between Russia and Belarus have been strained recently by a host of economic disputes.