Estonia will close the borders for Russians holding Estonian Schengen visas in a week, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said.
Visas will remain valid, but entry on them will be prohibited. This decision will affect 50,000 people. Russians holding Schengen visas from other countries will still be allowed to enter Estonia.
Exceptions will apply for diplomats and international carriers, as well as for those who visit a relative in Estonia or come for humanitarian reasons.
After the start of the special operation in Ukraine, the European Union suspended the simplified visa regime with Russiaю The regime envisaged a simplified procedure for processing documents for officials and entrepreneurs. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics supported the idea to ban visas for Russian travellers completely.
Back in July, the European Commission ruled out a possibility to deny visas to all Russians.
“There are always groups of people who need to be given visas. These are humanitarian cases, family members [of EU citizens], journalists and dissidents,” a European officials said.
EU sanctions primarily target the Russian government and economic elites, but not ordinary citizens, officials also said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sharply commented on the remarks from the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Germany