Czechia has joined the list after Estonia, Latvia and Finland called for an EU-wide ban on visas for Russians visiting the Union.
Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Lipavský has spoken out in favour of an EU-wide coordinated approach. Czechia was the first country within the Union to halt all visa issuance for Russian citizens, and Lipavský said: “We are trying to explain to our partners that the approach is justified and effective.”
A ban on tourists will be another sanctions targeting the Russian people in the belief that citizens should realize there are consequences to such a militant policy.
“We are convinced as a government that halting visas for ordinary Russian citizens gives a very clear and straightforward signal to the Russian society,” Lipavský argued. He also suggested a visa ban could help “decrease the influence of the Russian secret service in the EU”.
As the EU has hated direct air connections with Russia, the ban of visas for Russians in Czechia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland is already having an effect on travel to the Union, as travellers must apply for a visa from the country that is their first point of entry to the EU.
But Russians who have already obtained a multiple entry visa can still enter the EU via Finland and the Baltic states, which led Estonia to forbid entry into its territory to Russians that are holders of Estonia-issued Schengen visas.
Other countries bordering Russia could follow suit, as they are under pressure from numerous tourists using border countries as an entry hub into the EU.