Latvian PM Calls on All EU Countries to Stop Issuing Tourist Visas for Russians

The Prime Minister of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš, has called on all leaders of European Union countries to stop issuing tourist visas for citizens of Russia.

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Speaking for the Guardian on the current situation, Kariņš also rejected the idea that permitting entry for Russians fleeing mobilisation to enter the EU would weaken the armed forces of the Kremlin, reports.

According to Guardian, Prime Minister Kariņš pointed out that in case many citizens of Russia decide to leave their country since they do not want to fight in Ukraine could trigger a potential hunger immigration wave.

“I think the political dissenters have mostly already left. Then there will be economic opportunists, many, many other reasons and people with unknown loyalties,” Kariņš said for Guardian.

Latvia, as well as the other two Baltic countries – Estonia and Lithuania – and Poland officially stopped issuing Schengen visas for Russians earlier in September.

Announcing the news, the ministers of foreign affairs of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland said earlier in September that they decided to impose restrictions on Russians to protect public policy, internal security, as well as the overall safety of the Schengen Zone.

As soon as the issuance of Schengen visas was halted for Russians, the Latvian authorities said that the country would make exemptions..

The Latvian authorities explained that the country would continue to accept visa applications from Russians who are family members of the nationals of Latvia or family members of EU/EEA nationals. Additionally, the authorities highlighted that visa applications lodged by those applying for humanitarian purposes would also be accepted.

Apart from deciding to no longer issue visas for Russians, Latvia and the other two Baltic States also said that they would not grant asylum to citizens of Russia fleeing mobilisation.

The foreign ministers of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania said that Russians fleeing their country to avoid mobilisation will not enjoy special treatment.

“Due to security reasons, Latvia will not issue humanitarian or other types of visas to those Russian citizens who avoid mobilisation, nor will it change the border crossing restrictions for Russian citizens with Schengen visas introduced since September 19,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics, wrote on his official Twitter account earlier in September.

Previously, reported that around 266 Russians crossed the external border of Latvia and the EU on September 29 alone. Of the total number of Russians that crossed the border, 15 per cent of them had a valid visa, whereas another 40 per cent of them held a Latvian residence permit.

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