Lithuania called for a ban on the entry of Russians on Schengen visas throughout the EU
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry believes that restrictions on entry into the EU for Russians will be more effective if they are introduced at the community level. In Germany, they doubted this possibility, the European Commission noted that such a ban is not provided for by the rules type=”image/webp” media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >
Lithuania appreciates Estonia's decision to ban Russians who have Estonian Schengen visas from entering the country, but believes that the measure would be more effective if it were introduced throughout the European Union. The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told BNS about this.
Lithuania “takes the position that restrictions work more effectively if they are applied at the EU level,” the ministry said.
The need to make a decision to stop issuing Schengen tourist visas to Russian citizens at the level of the European Union was also announced by Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, reports Delfi. A few weeks ago, this proposal was voiced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country, Edgars Rinkevics.
The Czech Republic is also in favor of a ban on the issuance of Schengen visas to Russian citizens at the EU level. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that he intends to discuss this issue at a meeting of the heads of foreign affairs departments of the countries of the association at the end of August.
After the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, all these countries, as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Slovakia, limited or stopped issuing certain types of entry documents for Russians. For example, the Czech Republic refused to issue visas and residence permits to Russians until the end of March 2023, making an exception for trips for humanitarian purposes.
On August 11, Estonia announced that it would close its borders to Russian citizens with Estonia-issued Schengen visas in a week, with a few exceptions, such as diplomats, EU free-travelers and those with relatives in the country. On the same day, the Saeima of Latvia recognized Russia as a sponsor of terrorism and called on EU countries to stop issuing Schengen tourist visas to Russians and Belarusians.
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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz doubts that the European Union will completely stop issuing visas to Russian citizens. The European Commission emphasizes that the EU visa code does not provide for a complete ban on the issuance of short-term visas, including to Russians. There are categories of persons to whom they need to be issued, for example, family members, journalists, dissidents, the EC points out. At the same time, the countries of the union can independently make decisions regarding a particular visa application.
The fact that Western countries should ban all Russians from entering their territory was stated by the President of Ukraine in an interview with The Washington Post in early August Vladimir Zelensky. He said at the time that states should force all Russians to return to Russia and “live in their own world until [they] change their philosophy,” calling it “the only way to influence Putin.” and stop the fighting. The day before, in his nightly video message, Zelensky clarified that the call for visa restrictions does not apply to Russians who are persecuted at home, offering to give them refugee status.
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