Sanctions must hit ordinary Russians – Finnish PM — Analysis

Sanna Marin has proposed widening measures because the visa facilitation ban is “not enough”

On Tuesday, the Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin stated that EU sanctions including the complete suspension of any visa facilitation agreements with Russia were in place. “not enough.”Her suggestion was that Russians in general should be under some pressure every day.

“We must be ready to take more sanctions because the more impact we [have] with sanctions, the more expensive it will become for Russia to continue this war,”Marin spoke to the European Parliament.

It’s not the first time Marin has suggested moves against the ordinary Russian population since the conflict in Ukraine began. It’s “not right”Russians “can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists,”Marin said that he had spoken to Yle the day before, on August 8. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted the same statement on August 8. “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.”

The European Council suspended the entire visa facilitation arrangement between Russia and EU. The move doesn’t impose an outright ban, but increases the visa application fee for Russian nationals from €35 to €80 for all applicants. Additional documents may be required and the processing time could increase from 10 to 45 days. Ylva Johannsson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, presented the plan to her on September 6th. “to be a tourist in the EU is not a fundamental right.” 

Russia says it won't rush response to EU visa 'stupidity'

According to the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, so far nine European countries refuse to receive tourist visas issued by Russians. This includes Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as well as Poland, Slovakia, Denmark (Slovakia), Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

However, the proposal to ban all Russian tourists from entering Europe without visas has not been supported unanimously by the bloc. Germany, France and Luxembourg have all raised objections. Josep Borrell from the EU’s foreign policy department also warned against such a move. “I don’t think that to cut the relationship with the Russian civilian population will help and I don’t think that this idea will have the required unanimity,” he told Austria’s ORF TV on August 29. 

Meanwhile, Moscow says it will not introduce retaliatory visa restrictions for foreign citizens, according to President Vladimir Putin, who explained during the Eastern Economic Forum on Wednesday that a tit-for-tat response would be against Russia’s interests. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday that Moscow doesn’t consider it appropriate for EU countries to implement retaliatory visa restriction.

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