Ukrainian Bureaucratic Bullshit - Part 2

So earlier this month, Ukraine finally decided to institute a visa-free travel regime for American citizens...except for that they really didn't.

A cursory read of the presidential decree shows that U.S. Citizen visas requirements have been lifted for travel conducted AFTER you have received your first visa and concluded your first trip. Let's look:

With the aim to develop and realize into practice principles of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and the United States of America and guided by the aspirations to simplify the regime for mutual travels and to foster bilateral contacts in all fields of relationships, I issue a decree:
1. To introduce on July 1, 2005 visa free regime for the US citizens for entering Ukraine and for transit through the territory of Ukraine, if they visit Ukraine for the second time within 6 months from the date of their first visit to Ukraine for the period which doesn’t exceed 90 days. [bold type is mine]

Not quite visa-free...but still pretty good for frequent travelers and to help encourage business travel to Ukraine.

Oh, and there's the small problem in that the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs doesn't seem to be able to read their own freaking president's decrees:

On 30 June 2005, President of Ukraine Victor Yuschenko signed the Decree on the Establishment of Visa-Free Regime for Citizens of the United States of America, which introduced visa-free regime of entry to Ukraine and transit through it territory for U.S. citizens who may stay in Ukraine up to 90 days with at least six month intervals between visits.

So one hand of the government here doesn't seem to know what the other is doing. Typical...except that this lack of understanding of their own laws has lead to Ukrainian Embassies around the world returning visa applications back to the applicants, telling them that they don't need the visas. This is followed up by people getting turned away at the Ukrainian border because it's their first visit and they don't have a visa.

How do I know this? First, the Ukranian Embassy in London returned my brother's recently filed visa application back to him with no action taken, only telling himunofficiallyy by a phone call that he didn't need a visa. Second, when I called up citizen services at the American Embassy in Kiev to try to find out what the official policy is...they refused to give me an answer since no one seems to know what theofficiall Ukrainian position is. What they could tell me was that they had received several phone calls from Americans complaining that a Ukrainian Embassy had not issued them a visa because they "didn't need one" and were then turned away at a Ukrainian border point because THEY DIDN'T HAVE A VISA.

Way to improve your country's image as a backwards soviet relic with a nightmare of abureaucracyy. Let's tell...no, encourage... people to come visit...then turn them away when they get here.