Thursday, June 1, 2023

EU stops visa ban for Russians but complicates vacation rules amid war in Ukraine

EU international ministers on Wednesday resolved to make it more pricey and lengthier for Russians to obtain visas to travel to the bloc but stopped limited of agreeing to the EU-huge visa ban that Ukraine and quite a few member states had referred to as for.

The EU was too divided to agree at this stage on a blanket ban, and also left unclear what unilateral measures Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, which have land borders with Russia, could acquire to limit access to Russian website visitors.

These 5 international locations welcomed the suspension of Russia’s visa facilitation deal as a action in the suitable way but 4 of them stressed that additional essential to be completed to “substantially” limit the figures of visas issued and Russians travelling to the bloc considering that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

“Until eventually such steps are in spot on the EU stage, we … will think about introducing on the nationwide stage temporary actions of visa ban, or proscribing border crossing for Russian citizens keeping EU visas, in purchase to tackle imminent public security difficulties,” Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland mentioned in a joint assertion.

Russian Deputy International Minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would not let the transfer stand “without penalties,” in accordance to RIA news companies.

“If Brussels decides to shoot them selves in the foot as soon as all over again, this is their alternative,” he explained.

Czech International Minister Jan Lipavsky explained the EU’s government Fee would indeed glimpse at ways to go additional, such as what can be performed with what Lipavsky said had been about 12 million Schengen visas by now issued for Russians – referring to the 26-nation zone of open borders.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, argued that the suspension of the visa facilitation deal will by alone already have a genuine impact.

“This will considerably minimize the variety of new visas issued by the EU member states. It really is heading to be more tough, it can be likely to consider more time,” he told a information conference at the finish of a two-working day meeting of EU overseas ministers in Prague.

Borrell explained a considerable improve in border crossings from Russia into neighbouring states due to the fact mid-July had created it vital to suspend the visa facilitation agreement.

“Security Hazard”

“This has turn out to be a stability threat for these neighbouring states,” he extra. “In addition to that, we have observed lots of Russians travelling for leisure and browsing as if no war was raging in Ukraine.”

Extra than 1 million Russian citizens have entered the bloc by means of land border crossing factors due to the fact the beginning of the Ukraine invasion, most of them by using Finland and Estonia, the bloc’s border company Frontex reported.

Ukraine has consistently reported that ordinary Russians should also pay out for the invasion, which has killed hundreds of civilians, according to the United Nations, and levelled cities.

Ukraine’s international minister, Dmytro Kuleba, earlier on Wednesday recurring phone calls for an EU visa ban, expressing it would be “an correct reaction to Russia’s genocidal war of aggression in the coronary heart of Europe supported by an overwhelming the vast majority of Russian citizens.”

But France and Germany disagreed.

“We caution from much-reaching limitations on our visa coverage, in get to reduce feeding the Russian narrative and triggering unintended rallying-about the flag consequences and/or estranging upcoming generations,” they said in a joint memo.

This story has been released from a wire agency feed with out modifications to the text. Only the headline has been transformed.

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