Ban Russian visitors, Zelensky urges West

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, early Saturday, March 18, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP

Kathmandu: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Western countries to ban all Russian visitors – and the Kremlin has responded with scorn.

Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy”, Mr Zelensky told The Washington Post.

Such a ban, he argued, would be more effective than the current sanctions, which bar Russian airlines and officials linked to the Kremlin.

Russians can still get EU and US visas.

As reported by the BBC, Zelensky’s call may get only limited support, as Russia – despite sanctions – has extensive global business ties and Russian tourists are still welcome in holiday destinations such as Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

But on Tuesday, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted: “Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.”

Last month, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told the Politico website that EU countries should restrict issuing visas for Russians, with an exemption for humanitarian reasons.

And on Monday their Nordic neighbour Finland also backed restrictions on Russian visitors.

BBC has reported that Estonia and Finland are expected to raise the visa issue at an EU foreign ministers’ meeting soon.

(News Source: BBC)