Lithuania Calls on All Member States to Ban Russian Tourists
The Minister of Interior of Lithuania, Agnė Bilotaitė, has called the other European Union Member States to follow the example of the Baltic countries and Poland and ban entry for all Russian tourists.
During a meeting that was held in Luxembourg last week, Minister Bilotaitė said that the other EU countries should show ‘a strong backbone to this issue’, suggesting that they should also not permit entry to Russians who hold a valid Schengen visa regardless of the issuing country, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“While Ukrainians fighting for their freedom and democracy are being bombed and killed, Russians, the vast majority of whom support the war, should not be visiting our museums or shopping centers. I am proud of the regional decision to introduce restrictions and I call on as many EU countries as possible to show a strong backbone on this issue,” the statement of Bilotaitė reads.
Additionally, Minister Bilotaitė, emphasised the need to seek an EU-level legal solution regarding the confiscation Russia’s assets.
Lithuania and the other two Baltic States – Latvia and Estonia – as well as Poland, banned entry for all Russians holding valid visas earlier in September. Commenting on the measures, the ministers of foreign affairs of these countries said back then that they had been introduced on the common ground of protecting public policy, internal security, and the overall safety of the Schengen Area.
Additionally, these countries also said that they would not grant asylum to Russians fleeing mobilisation as, according to them, the refusal to fulfill the civic duty does not constitute sufficient grounds for being granted asylum.
The Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, has also called for stricter rules for citizens of Russia. Kariņš said last week that all the EU Member States who have not imposed strict rules for Russians should consider stopping issuing visas for them.
In addition, Kariņš said that the EU should not permit entry for Russians fleeing mobilisation as, according to him, this could trigger a potential immigration wave.
On the other hand, the European Council President, Charles Michel, said during an address to the United Nations General Assembly that the EU should allow entry for Russians fleeing mobilisation. Michel said for Politico that the EU should show oneness and, at the same time, pointed out that he is ready to discuss with his colleagues how this can be achieved.