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Russia drops visa requirements for major sporting events

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) attends a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin May 8, 2013. Picture taken May 8, 2013. R
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) attends a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin May 8, 2013. Picture taken May 8, 2013. R

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree waiving visa requirements for athletes and officials attending international sporting events in Russia, the Kremlin announced on Monday.

"Participants in international sporting competition can enter and exit the Russian Federation without applying for visas," the government said in a statement posted on its official website (www.kremlin.ru).

The government would publish a list of international sporting events and regulations on how long foreigners may remain in the country, the statement said.

Participants must carry a valid passport and official accreditation from local organizers to qualify for visa-free status, the Kremlin added.

Over the next few years, Russia is hosting a number of major sporting events, starting with the world athletics championships in Moscow in August, the Sochi Winter Olympics next February and the soccer World Cup in 2018.

(Reporting by Gennady Fyodorov; Editing by John O'Brien)

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