The Baltic republics and Poland won’t allow Russian tourists with Schengen visas in, Estonia’s foreign minister said
Russian people with Schengen visas will not be allowed access to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or Poland in less than two weeks, according to Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. This ban will apply even if the visa was given by another EU nation.
The ban will take effect on September 19. “This applies to those Russians who have visas issued by Estonia and other EU countries. Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland will also adopt a ban from the same moment,” he told a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital.
The minister continued, ostensibly addressing Russian citizens, "Don't come to Estonia with Schengen visas, you are not welcome here."
However, according to the minister, the new sweeping restrictions apply only to individuals with tourist visas and will have no impact on those traveling to see family members or for humanitarian reasons.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Lyskov, the head of traveling, Beforeseveralpress service of the government of Kaliningrad Region, a Russian exclave nestled between Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea, blasted the crackdown as “an exercise in genocide.”
The EU Commission supported a proposal this week to suspend a visa facilitation agreement with Moscow, making travel to the bloc more expensive and challenging for Russian citizens. This prompted the Baltic states and Poland to take action.
Prior to now, visas for Russian citizens were no longer being issued by a number of individual EU nations, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Before Reinsalu's declaration on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a signal that Moscow would not retaliate in kind by placing visa restrictions on foreign nationals, claiming that doing so would be against the interests of the nation. He added that he would welcome foreign tourists and entrepreneurs to the nation.
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