Lithuania, Estonia and Poland have already joined the initiative not to let Russian citizens through their borders, even if they have a valid Schengen visa.
The ban on the entry of Russian citizens to the Baltic countries and Poland is not only a security issue for these countries, but also one of the types of anti-Russian sanctions.
This was stated by the President of Latvia Egils Levits, reports Radio Liberty.
“It is also morally impossible to justify that at the very time when the Russian army is killing civilians in Ukraine, Russians are in our countries,” the Latvian president explained.
He recalled that Lithuania, Estonia and Poland have already joined the initiative not to let Russian citizens through their borders, even with a valid Schengen visa. A corresponding decision is also expected from Finland soon.
Levits does not consider such a ban a violation of the rights of citizens of the Russian Federation. And those who claim to be fighting the Putin regime are offered to receive refugee status, and not to go to European countries as tourists.
“Russians who are really repressed by the state authorities can apply for asylum as refugees. We have laws on this, and, of course, like all citizens of other countries, they can apply for asylum,” Levits stressed.
War in Ukraine and visas for Russians:
On August 8, President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the EU to close the borders of the Schengen zone for citizens of Russia, which is waging a war to destroy Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.
Five countries supported the ban on the issuance of Schengen visas to Russian citizens: Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Finland and Denmark. The first country on the list has already implemented an entry restriction.
In Russia, against the background of such statements, the number of applications for a Schengen visa increased by 40% in two weeks, and officials from the Russian Federation threatened to respond to the ban.
The Czech Republic, which dominates the Council of the European Union, intends to invite the EU countries to consider stopping the issuance of Schengen visas for Russians at a meeting at the end of August.
At the same time, Latvia is considering the possibility of canceling visas and residence permits for Russians who support the war against Ukraine.
On August 14, Polish diplomats announced that they were working on a ban on issuing visas to citizens of the Russian Federation. Decisions on this issue may be in the coming weeks.
On August 18, Denmark announced that it would restrict the issuance of visas to Russians, regardless of the decision of the EU.
On August 18, it became known that the Russians would have to wait for Finnish visas for 5 months.
On August 19, 2022, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis called on the EU countries to cancel the multi-entry Schengen visas issued to Russians.
Cyprus, Greece and Germany opposed the general ban. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “this is not a war of the Russian people, but of Putin.”
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have closed entry for Russians since September 19.