EU president considers banning visas for all Russians – News

“A wholesale freeze on Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement obtained by AFP.

Lipavsky said he would present the proposal at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague in late August.

Ukrainian officials are demanding that the EU take such action, but that has divided the bloc’s countries, which are forced to adopt the sanctions unanimously.

“In this period of Russian aggression, when the Kremlin continues to intensify, we cannot talk about normal tourism for Russian citizens,” Lipavsky said. For the rest, the Czech Republic has stopped issuing visas to Russians since February 25, the day after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

So far, the EU has adopted six sanctions against Russia.

In an interview with the Washington Post this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western countries to ban all Russian citizens from entering their territory.

Finnish Foreign Minister Bekka Haavisto last week unveiled plans to restrict tourist visas for Russians.

Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, which borders Russia, called on the European Union earlier this week to stop issuing visas to Russians.

“Going to Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” he tweeted on Tuesday. Lipovsky said the move would send “a very clear and direct signal to Russian society”.

This, he added, “will not tolerate the aggressive and hateful rhetoric of the Russian regime against free and democratic countries that are not a threat to Russia.”

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