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EU balks at Russia travel ban

Officials in Brussels are skeptical of Zelensky’s demand, now echoed by Estonia and Finland

One official told the Financial Times Tuesday that while the EU is reluctant to shut down its borders for all Russian tourists, it does not desire a total ban.

Following calls by politicians from Finland and Estonia to implement the idea, this was in response to a request made by Vladimir Zelensky, Ukrainian President.  Moscow called the idea “irrational” and said implementing it would expose the EU’s true nature once and for all.

“Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,”Tuesday’s tweet by Kaja Kallas was sent from Estonian Prime Minister. With air travel shut down, Kallas noted, Russia’s neighbors – Estonia, Latvia, and Finland – “carry the burden”All Schengen visas can be processed. “Time to end tourism from Russia now.”

More than 100 million Russians live in Europe, the largest country on the continent. Russia has also borders with Poland (and Lithuania)

It’s “not right”Russians “can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists,”Finnish PM Sanna Marin accused Moscow of waging war on her, according to Yle. “an aggressive, brutal war of aggression.”Marin stated that Finland could introduce its own travel ban. “personally like to see European solutions to this question as well.”

The statements from Kallas and Marin – both outspoken supporters of the government in Kiev – come after Zelensky told the Washington Post on Monday that the current sanctions against Russia were “weak”And that the only way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be influenced was through a travel ban on Russians and an energy embargo.

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Ban all Russians from the West – Zelensky

The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Brussels was not supportive of the idea. 

“You don’t want to completely ban all Russians from traveling to the EU. How are we going to engage at all?”Unnamed EU official said the following: “Russians not in favor of the war need to be able to travel too.”

Anita Hipper, the European Commission’s spokeswoman for immigration issues, told FT that the EU’s partial suspension of the visa agreement with Russia “does not affect ordinary Russian citizens for the time being.”

While members have “significant leeway to decrease or stop issuing long-stay visas and residence permits,”Hipper indicated that visas will continue to be required for certain groups, including the following: “humanitarian cases, for family members, journalists or dissidents.”

Moscow’s Kremlin described those calling for travel bans as “delirious”The idea and its essence “irrational.” 

“They are stooping to sentiments that we heard literally 80 years ago from certain countries in the heart of Europe,”Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) told reporters that the Kremlin would not tolerate such comments. He also said that he believed those who made them would be held accountable. “come to their senses” eventually.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the EU’s own rules and obligations mean it can’t ban entry based on nationality. 

“This would kill the whole idea of democracy, liberalism, freedom and, as they say ‘zero tolerance’ [of]Xenophobia and nationalism are all examples. If any EU countries do this, they will instantly admit their own nationalism, and no cosmetics will cover it up,” Zakharova said in a ‘Russia 24’ TV interview on Tuesday.

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