Copenhagen, Denmark (AP) ̵2; Four European countries bordering Russia will take regional measures this month to prevent Russians from entering Europe’s visa-free zone by land because they face “a substantial and growing influx of Russian citizens.” worried about.”
“We recognize that this is posing a serious threat to our public safety and the overall shared Schengen area,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kailas said on Thursday. “People are coming with the aim of undermining the security of our countries.”
Poland and the three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – have agreed on a common regional approach with “the political will and firm intention to introduce national temporary measures for Russian citizens holding EU visas”.
Such measures should be effective in each of the four countries by September 19.
“We stress that this is not an absolute entry restriction and will remain a generally agreed valid exception,” said Callas, adding that exceptions include dissidents, humanitarian matters, family members and residence permit holders, among others. Huh.
“Travel to the EU is a privilege, not a human right,” Kailas said, adding that it was “unacceptable that citizens of the aggressor state are able to travel freely within the EU, while at the same time persecuted people in Ukraine.” and murdered.”
In Poland, one of Ukraine’s staunch supporters in its fight against Russia’s invasion, the government said the goal was to “prevent direct threats to public order and security”.
Kailas said Russia had been granted most of the visas issued to Russians before it invaded Ukraine in February.
Estonia and Latvia border the Russian mainland, while Lithuania and Poland share a border with Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
At a European Union summit last month, the bloc’s 27 members were divided over whether to impose a broad visa ban on Russian citizens, torn between a desire to increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin and a desire to punish ordinary Russians. There is concern about those who may not even support its war on Ukraine.
The European Union had already tightened visa restrictions on Russian officials and businessmen in May, but Poland and the Baltic countries have called for wider restrictions on tourists. Germany and France are pushing for tightening visa restrictions on Russians rather than outright banning them.
During a press conference after a meeting of Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkeviks said, “Over the past few weeks and months we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of border crossings by Russian nationals holding Schengen visas. developed.” Lithuania on Wednesday. “It is also becoming a public safety issue. This … is an issue of a moral and political nature.”
The European Union has already banned air travel from Russia after it invaded Ukraine. But Russians can still travel by land to Estonia and apparently taking flights to other European destinations.
The four countries are members of the European Union and are part of Europe’s travel area – known as the “Schengen Area” – where people and goods move freely between these countries without border checks.