The Czech Republic, which holds the EU presidency, said that the bloc’s next decision could be to ban Russian tourists. On Friday, the country made the announcement that such a blanket ban on visas fro Russian tourists is quite likely as another sanction on Russia.
“The flat halting of Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement.
The minister stated that the idea would be proposed at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of this month.
“In a time of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin keeps on escalating, there cannot be talks about common tourism for Russian citizens,” said Lipavsky.
The EU has so far come up with six sanction packages against Russia.
The President of Ukraine urged on the Western hemisphere to add this ban on all Russian travellers to the list of sanctions on Moscow. In an interview this week, president Zelensky said that Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
The Czech Republic stopped issuing visas for all Russians on February 25, a day after Russia invaded Ukraine. However the rest of Europe hasn’t quite followed. Russian tourists are still flowing into Europe through Finland.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto last week introduced a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians. Meanwhile, other leaders that called don the EU to refuse visas to Russians include Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia which also borders Russia, who said so last week.
“Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” she said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Lipavsky said the move would send “a very clear and straightforward signal to the Russian society”.