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European Union may ban visas for all Russian travellers

BRUSSELS: The European Union may consider banning Russian travelers to EU countries. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky has hinted that a visa ban will be imposed on all Russian travelers.

He said the idea would be put forward at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of August. “In a time of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin keeps on escalating, there cannot be talks about common tourism for Russian citizens,” said Mr Lipavsky.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had asked Western countries to ban all Russian travellers. On February 25, a day after Russia invaded Ukraine, the Czech Republic stopped issuing visas to ordinary Russians.

However, Russian tourists still flock to Europe through Finland. Once they enter the Schengen zone, the Russians are free to travel across most of Europe.

Finland’s Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, announced last week a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians. Earlier this week, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas asked the European Union to stop issuing visas to Russians. The European Union has so far introduced six sanctions packages against Russia.

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