This file photo shows passengers getting registered at Kiev's main airport, Boryspil, in Ukraine, January 18, 2015. (REUTERS PHOTO)
KIEV, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- Ukraine has begun to gather biometric data from foreigners at the country's border control points, the State Border Guard Service said in a statement on Monday.
Since the beginning of the day, more than 2,700 foreigners, including 500 Russian citizens, have crossed the Ukrainian border under the new biometric control procedure, the statement said.
This was recently introduced to ensure Ukraine's state security, strengthen the control over the entry and the departure of foreigners and better monitor their compliance under the rules-of-stay in Ukraine, it said.
Under this system, Ukrainian border guards will collect fingerprints from international travelers entering Ukraine and check their passports against several databases, including the database of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
The checks will be compulsory for citizens from 71 countries in Ukraine's list of the states with a high migration risk, but only selectively for other travelers.
The leaders of foreign states, members of parliamentary and government delegations, children, cruise tourists, members of vehicle crew, diplomatic staff and officials of international organizations will be exempted from checks.
In September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree to start collecting the biometric data of foreigners entering the country in order to strengthen Ukraine's national security.
The decree was issued at the request of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, which initially proposed to introduce biometric controls for Russians entering Ukraine without a visa.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that the new system may harm people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Relations between Kiev and Moscow have soured since 2014 when Crimea joined Russia following a referendum, but Ukraine said the peninsula was illegally annexed by Russia.