Conflicts & War

Baltic states urge EU visa ban for Russians

Riga/Berlin, Aug 14 (EFE).- Latvia and Estonia on Sunday called on the European Union to tighten travel restrictions on Russian nationals and stop granting them Schengen visas.

Latvia’s president Egils Levits urged the EU to adopt the measures and spoke of revoking residence permits and visas already issued by his country.

“Latvia, together with Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and other like-minded countries, should push for a Europe-wide demand to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. These would be additional sanctions against Russia,” Levits said during an event in Riga.

The Latvian leader said it was not “politically and morally justifiable” for Russian tourists to be “peacefully resting in Europe,” while the Russian army “is killing in Ukraine.”

Levits’ remarks came in an event held for Latvian citizens who suffered repression at the hands of the Soviet regime between 1940 and 1991.

“Latvia has not issued tourist visas to Russians since the beginning of the invasion on February 24. Other countries continue to issue them, which is not politically and morally justifiable,” he said in a Twitter post.

The Latvian embassy in Moscow declared it was no longer issuing visas to Russian citizens, except to attend a relative’s funeral.

Estonia, meanwhile, announced earlier that it would stop admitting Russian citizens with visas issued by the country to the Schengen zone from August 18.

Kaja Kallas, the Estonian prime minister, called on extending the ban to all countries in the Schengen area, while her Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, has also reaffirmed her support for an EU ban on those visas.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, ruled out such a move, calling those measures “difficult” to accept.

“It is (Vladimir) Putin’s war,” Scholz said on Thursday, stressing that it is he who “is responsible for that war,” not the Russian population. EFE


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