EU ministers to study call for ban on Russian tourists - GulfToday

EU ministers to study call for ban on Russian tourists


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EU foreign ministers are to discuss this week an appeal led by Ukraine to ban Russian tourists from visiting Europe.

The idea, to be studied in a two-day meeting starting on Tuesday in Prague, has divided EU nations, with some wholeheartedly agreeing with it while others resist, fearing it would shut the door on dissident Russians fleeing their homeland.


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Some EU countries neighbouring Russia have already moved to bar or limit visas to Russians, but no EU-wide ban is as yet in place.

In February, the European Union restricted visas in certain categories for Russians linked to the Kremlin, including for officials, diplomatic passport holders and company bosses. But tourist visas were still permitted.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during an interview. File photo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is now demanding the West shut its borders to all Russians, including tourists, saying they should "live in their own world until they change their philosophy".

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said: "Russians overwhelmingly support the war, cheer missile strikes on Ukrainian cities and (the) murder of Ukrainians. Let Russian tourists enjoy Russia then."

A furious Kremlin has reacted by calling Kyiv's appeal "irrational" and pledging retaliation.

Finland, which has Europe's longest border with Russia, will from Thursday slash the number of Russian tourist visa applications it handles to just 10 percent of the usual 1,000 received per day. A flat-out ban based on an applicant's nationality is impossible under Finnish law.

That measure will have an impact. Because of EU sanctions closing European airspace to flights from Russia, Russians had massively turned to land travel through Finland to reach other European countries.

EU countries Latvia, Lithuania and Poland stopped issuing new tourist visas to Russians when the Kremlin's forces invaded Ukraine in late February.

Agence France-Presse




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