The Czech Foreign Ministry considered the option to completely suspend the issuance of visas to Russians as an effective EU sanction.
PRAGUE, AUGUST 10 – RIA Novosti. The complete suspension of the issuance of visas to Russian citizens by EU countries could be another effective sanction, the issue will be raised at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of August, Czech diplomatic head Jan Lipavsky’s department told reporters on Wednesday.
The heads of the Estonian and Finnish governments on Tuesday called on Europe to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. Now Russians can freely visit most of the Schengen countries with visas issued by Finland, for example. Due to EU sanctions imposed in connection with hostilities in Ukraine, Russian citizens cannot fly directly to many EU countries, although some often travel by train or bus to Finland or Estonia and from there to all parts of Europe.
“The Czech Republic became the first EU Member State to suspend the issuance of visas to citizens of the Russian Federation on February 25, one day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Later, the ban was extended until the end of March 2023. It also extended the Republic to Belarusian citizens. .In both cases the ban does not apply to humanitarian cases.Members of the Czech government believe that a complete suspension of the issuance of visas to Russian citizens by EU countries could be another effective sanction. “I plan to actively discuss it,” he said.
According to the minister, the Czech Republic has repeatedly raised the issue of extending the ban to all EU countries and is seeking coordinated EU action in this regard. It now plans to continue this activity as the EU presidency (from 1 July to 31 December 2022).
“In the era of Russian aggression, whose declared borders are constantly changing, one cannot speak of ordinary tourism for Russian citizens. Among other things, we are talking about our security, I have been trying to reduce activity for a long time and the impact of Russian special services on the territory of EU countries,” added Lipavsky.
According to Lipavsky, Czech politicians believe that the suspension of visas for ordinary citizens of the Russian Federation will give a clear and direct signal to Russian society that the West does not want to put up with the actions of the Russian leadership in Ukraine.
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