The Estonian authorities have decided to close entry into their country to Russian citizens who have a Schengen visa issued by the republic. At the same time, as reported on August 11, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Urmas Reinsalu, exceptions will be made to this rule.
“According to the proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a sanction will be introduced in a week against valid Schengen visas issued by Estonia to Russian citizens. They will be banned from entering Estonia,” the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry said at a briefing.
As an exception, Reinsalu noted, employees of Russian diplomatic missions in Estonia and members of their families, as well as persons involved in international transportation or having the right to free movement under EU law, will not be subject to sanctions.
Also, the ban will not affect persons whose entry into the republic is necessary for humanitarian reasons. It does not apply to close relatives of Estonian citizens and holders of a permanent residence permit in the republic. Currently, citizens of the Russian Federation have more than 50,000 Schengen visas issued by the Baltic state.
As Vyacheslav Nikonov, First Deputy Head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, commented on this decision, Russia may leave Estonia’s decision to impose restrictions on the entry of Russians into its territory unanswered, as it supports the principles of freedom of movement.
In turn, the head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, former Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Grigory Karasin pointed out that Estonia’s decision to close the border for Russians is a manifestation of a historical inferiority complex. According to him, such decisions look very “stupid and ridiculous” and violate all generally accepted norms of respectable states.
The day before, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba called on the EU and G7 countries to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens. Kuleba said that Russians should be “deprived of the right to cross international borders until they learn to respect them.”
On August 9, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas tweeted that Russians should stop issuing tourist visas. In her opinion, “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.”
The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, in turn, called the appeal of the head of the Estonian Cabinet of Ministers “nonsense on the verge of nationalism” and recalled that the restriction of freedom of movement is a violation of international human rights.
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