Estonian Foreign Minister discusses EU visa ban with Ukrainian leader

Estonian Foreign Minister discusses EU visa ban with Ukrainian leader

The country's top diplomat said that he discussed the idea during a meeting with the Ukrainian president.

The EU-wide travel visa ban on Russian citizens would be lifted in the next package of the bloc's sanctions against Moscow, according to Bloomberg on Thursday. The phone interview with Reinsalu, who is currently visiting Kiev, was also cited by the outlet.

The country's top diplomat said he had discussed the idea during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

"We have to raise the cost of Russian aggression through additional sanctions, weapons and by increasingly isolating Russia," Reinsalu told the agency.

The Estonian minister didn't mention his visa ban idea, but he said that he talked with the Ukrainian leader Estonia s continued aid to Ukraine, especially for the coming winter, as well as ramping up defensive aid. He wrote that we must start with Ukraine's reconstruction despite Russia's brutal war.

Estonia is known for its tough stance on Moscow. After the launch of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine in late February, Estonia stopped issuing visa types for Russians. Visa restrictions and EU-wide ban on all 27 bloc members are imposed by some EU member states such as Lithuania and Latvia, as well as Poland and Czech Republic.

Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets said recently that the Schengen visa rules make it impossible for people with visas issued by other countries from entering Estonia. He said that the issue should be discussed at the EU level.

The European Commission clarified on August 1, responding to a query from Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, that consideration of visa applications and the issuance of short-term Schengen visas is a matter for individual EU countries. It stressed that such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis because there are always groups of people eligible for visas, such as family members, journalists, dissidents and those who ask for visas on humanitarian grounds.

Finland and other countries are talking about how to limit the issuing of tourist visas for Russian citizens. According to a recent survey conducted by Yle, 58% of Finns support a total visa ban.

Poland and Latvia have had a debate about banning Russians from entering the EU.

Germany s foreign ministry said in a recent comment for Deutsche Welle that the issuance of Schengen visas can only be stopped on the basis of consensus among all Schengen countries, and at the moment there is no such decision.