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Ban On All Russian Tourists In Baltic States & Poland Takes Effect

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Monday, Sep 19, 2022 - 02:26 PM

On Monday, travel bans targeting Russian citizens took effect in four out of the five European Union countries bordering Russia. This comes after the EU considered but didn't ultimately go through with implementing a bloc-wide travel ban, saying visa policies would be up to individual nations.

"Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania imposed new restrictions as Finland decided to remain open, though it has cut back the number of consular appointments available to Russian travelers seeking visas," Al Jazeera reports.

Narva Friendship Bridge over the Narva river - a key, historic border crossing between Estonia and Russia. Image: Wiki Commons

Starting the first week of the Ukraine invasion, the EU had imposed a blanket flight ban on Russian planes, but rail as well as road transport links have remained open and available. 

EU leadership had last month expressed concerns that a bloc-wide ban on Russian travel would unfairly hurt dissidents and journalists, and all Russians no matter their views of the war.

"More than 300,000 Russians have [fled] their country because they don't want to live under the rule of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin. Are we going to close the door to these Russians? I don't think it's a good idea," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the time. 

Late last month, however, the EU did agree to freeze a 2007 agreement which had eased travel between Russia and Europe, effectively making the process for Russians to obtain short-term visas to enter Europe’s passport-free travel zone much harder, more time-consuming and costly.

Al Jazeera meanwhile notes the important exception that "Monday’s entry ban is aimed at tourists and excludes Russian dissidents seeking refuge in the EU along with truck drivers, refugees and permanent residents of EU countries as well as those visiting family members."

The Kremlin for its part has condemned the move of a number of EU countries to outright block Russian tourist visas as having xenophobic and "Russophobic" underpinnings.

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