KATERYNA TYSHCHENKO – FRIDAY, 12 AUGUST 2022, 23:18
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has called on the EU to introduce visa restrictions for Russian citizens; he believes such restrictions to be just and fair.
Source: President Zelenskyy’s video address
Quote: "After everything the occupiers have done in Ukraine, the only possible way to treat Russia is as a terrorist state. These are the grounds on which decisions regarding Russian citizens should be made. I am grateful to the Czech Republic, to the Baltic states and to other countries who have launched official discussions of the question of visas for citizens of the terrorist state."
"First of all, there has to be a guarantee that Russian murderers and agents of state terror will not be able to use the Schengen system.
Second, we must preserve the very idea of Europe, our shared European values. We cannot let Europe become a supermarket where it doesn’t matter who the customer is as long as they can pay for their goods. Visa restrictions for Russian citizens are just and fair. All those who want to defend European values must insist on this."
Details: Zelenskyy has noted that some Russian citizens really do need protection abroad due to the persecution they face in their homeland.
"They must receive help from the civilised world, via well-known legal mechanisms: refugee status, applications for asylum and other avenues for assistance and support. But these [mechanisms] should be available only to those who are fighting [Putin’s regime in Russia - ed.], who are being persecuted. This is not about Russian citizens going on holiday to Europe, this is not about tourism, or entertainment, or business trips. There can be no business with the terrorist state," Zelenskyy has underscored.
On 11 August, the Estonian government announced that within a week it would block entry to Russians who had been granted EU visas, with only a handful of exceptions.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has called on EU member states to halt tourist visas for Russian citizens. She stressed that visits to Europe are a privilege, not a human right.
On Wednesday, 10 August, Jan Lipavský, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechia (which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council), expressed his support for the EU visa ban for Russian citizens which had been proposed by several other EU member states.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has rejected calls for an EU ban on tourist visas for Russian citizens, saying, "This war is Putin’s war".
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has responded to Scholz, saying that the Russians overwhelmingly support the war.