Many EU countries oppose the ban on Russian visas

EU flag in Brussels, Belgium, October 2019.  Photo: Reuters.

EU flag in Brussels, Belgium, October 2019. Image: Reuters.

The head of the Cypriot Foreign Ministry, Kornelios Korneliou, said the visa ban on Russians was a mistake. The Republic of Cyprus is home to about 50,000 Russians and is a popular holiday destination for Russians.

“We believe in the benefits of people-to-people exchanges,” Korneliou said, adding that he would not stop issuing visas to Russian citizens.

Greek government officials also said Greece was not considering a proposal to change visa status for Russians, even though Greece was one of the first EU countries to announce it would send weapons to Ukraine. Greece is considered a favorite destination of Russian tourists in the summer.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had earlier proposed that the EU ban visas for Russians as a measure of sanctions for the country’s military campaign. EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss Mr Zelensky’s proposal at a meeting in Prague later this month.

Russian airlines have been banned from flying over most of Europe and North America, making it more difficult for Russians to travel abroad. However, Russian citizens can still freely apply for a visa to the US. Some European countries have recently introduced restrictions on visas for Russians.

Finland has announced a reduction in the number of visa interview appointments available in Russia, to around 100 appointments per day. Lithuanian authorities meanwhile are arguing over a measure to stop issuing temporary residence permits to Russians and Belarusians.

However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposes the idea of ​​stopping visas for Russians across the EU. Scholz said that the Ukraine conflict “is not a war of the Russian people, but a war of Putin”. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz later criticized this statement, accusing the German chancellor of not reading about the immense support from the Russian people for President Putin’s policies.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a military adviser in the Ukrainian presidential administration, also opposed the idea that European countries would stop issuing visas to all Russians, saying that measures should be “more selective” and “should not be held accountable.” collective duty”.

Ngoc Anh (Theo Azerbaycan 24/Kyiv Independent)

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