US rejects Ukraine’s call to ban visas to Russians

The idea to lower the iron curtain for the citizens of Russia, expressed by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and supported by a number of European countries, did not meet with understanding in Washington.

The US will not impose blanket visa bans on Russian citizens to leave the way open for dissidents and those whose rights are being violated, a State Department official told Reuters on Monday.

“We have made it clear that it is important to draw a line between the actions of the Russian government and its policies in Ukraine and the people of Russia,” he explained.

Zelensky came up with the idea to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russians on August 8, stating that the entire population of the Russian Federation is responsible for the war, because “they have chosen such a government and are not fighting it.” Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy,” said the President of Ukraine.

Two days later, the proposal on visa sanctions was included in the draft of the seventh package of measures for the invasion of Ukraine, which the EU foreign ministers are to discuss at a meeting in Prague in late August.

Zelensky’s idea was supported by the Baltic countries, including Estonia, whose Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.” She was joined by Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who said Russians should not be allowed to “live normal lives” while the Kremlin wages war.

Following the plans to unilaterally restrict the issuance of visas to Russians, the Finnish Foreign Ministry announced: for this application, applications will be accepted only one day a week.

Estonian authorities have begun canceling Schengen visas at the border, while Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Kore Dyubvad has meanwhile called for a “pan-European solution”. “It is clear that if there is only one country in Europe where Russians can enter, then in principle it is possible to enter the entire Schengen zone. That is why this should be done within the framework of the entire EU,” Dubwad explained.

Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, France, the Netherlands and Germany opposed the visa sanctions. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz last week urged not to complicate the lives of ordinary Russians who may need Schengen visas.

The war in Ukraine is “not a war of the Russian people, but a war of Putin,” he said, adding that “a lot of people are fleeing Russia because they don’t agree with the Russian regime.”


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