Four of the European Union Member states, which are bordering Russia on a temporary basis, have barred most Russian travellers on Monday in a recent EU show of support for Ukraine.
Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will now block Russian citizens with EU visas from visiting for tourism, culture, sports and business purposes.
Holders of residence permits, family members, humanitarian cases as well as dissidents are exempt from the ban.
EU nations that share a land border with Russia have become a transit hub for Russians looking to travel further into Europe following the EU banned Russian flights in reply to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The four nations went further than an EU-wide decision last month to suspend a visa facilitation deal with Moscow, making it longer and more expensive for Russians seeking to end the 27-member states bloc.
Meanwhile, Russia added at the time that it would not respond to the move. Finland, which also shares a land border with Russia, slashed the number of visas issued to Russian citizens to 10% on September 1, but has not joined the Baltic and Polish ban.
The European Union says it recorded more than 1 million entries, including multiple visits on the same visa, of Russian nationals in the first half of 2022. As the Polish and Baltic bans went into force this morning, Russia’s Embassy in Latvia decried what it called “outrageous” demands by Latvian border guards to sign a statement condemning the Kremlin.