Lithuania urged to cancel tourist visas already issued to Russians

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Landsbergis called on the EU to cancel long-term visas issued to Russians Even if the EU bans the issuance of new visas, Russians already have a large number of long-term visas in their hands, Lithuania said, calling for the cancellation of issued permits. The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that they would not leave the sanctions unanswered

Views of Lithuania

The European Union must immediately cancel Schengen visas already issued to Russians and Belarusians, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in his column for Politico.

Even if the EU stopped issuing visas to Russian tourists, he said, the ban would not solve the problem, as Russians already had “large numbers” of multiple entry visas for a period of three years or more. “This means that even without the issuance of new visas, a significant number of tourists will still have the opportunity to enjoy the European lifestyle, which, according to the authorities of Russia and Belarus, should be despised and even fought against,” & mdash; said Landsbergis.

In this regard, the countries of the European Union must find a joint and effective solution that will make the visa ban “as effective as possible,” he continued. “And that decision must include an immediate, clear no.” Russian and Belarusian tourists, canceling already issued long-term multiple-entry visas at least until the end [of hostilities in Ukraine] and continuing to receive those who seek asylum, not vacations in Europe, — the minister wrote.

Lithuania, along with Latvia and Estonia, advocated a ban on the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians. Actively discussing this measure in the EU began after Russia opened the land borders that it has, including with the Baltic countries and Finland. After that, these states said that Russian tourists use them as a transit point for trips around Europe. From there, the Russians can fly to other EU countries, while this cannot be done from Russia: since the end of February, in response to a special operation in Ukraine, the European Union has closed the sky for Russian aircraft.

The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that if the EU or its individual countries ban the issuance of visas to Russians, Moscow will respond to this. In turn, Tatyana Moskalkova, Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia, noted that such a ban by the European Union would grossly violate the fundamental principle of freedom of movement, enshrined in universal and regional international legal acts. And calls for such measures— these are “manifestations of nationalism and discrimination,” she said.

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