Estonian to close borders to Russian nationals with Schengen visas

Estonian to close borders to Russian nationals with Schengen visas

Russians with Estonia-issued Schengen visas will be denied entry, with a full ban to be discussed, according to the foreign minister.

Estonia will close its borders to Russian nationals with Schengen visas issued by the Baltic nation, the Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told reporters that Schengen visas issued by the Republic of Estonia will be subject to a sanction in a week.

The visas will be valid because of the sanction. He said that there will be several exceptions to the new rules, as Visa holders will not be allowed to enter Estonia.

The exceptions include those who work at diplomatic missions in Estonia and their family members, as well as individuals engaged in international cargo and passenger transportation. The ban won't apply to those with the right of free movement under EU law, persons whose entry into Estonia is necessary for humanitarian reasons, relatives of Estonian citizens, or relatives of permanent residents.

I would like to emphasize a second time that this provision comes into force in a week. The move will have no impact on Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued elsewhere, because of the fact that the vast majority of Schengen visas issued in Estonia are valid, but those who do not fall under the exceptions are not allowed to enter Estonia, according to Reinsalu.

The Estonian government intends to discuss a possible path to banning Russian nationals who hold Schengen visas from entering the country.

Yesterday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas urged Schengen countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. She said that visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right.

Her statement was echoed by Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who said it was not right that Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists, while Moscow wages an aggressive, brutal war of aggression. Marin said she would like to see European solutions to this question. One Brussels official told the Financial Times this week that the bloc did not want a complete ban, despite the fact that the EU has so far been reluctant to close its borders to Russian citizens.

You do not want to ban all Russians from traveling to the EU. An unnamed EU official told the newspaper. Russians are not in favor of war, but they need to be able to travel. The Kremlin described people as delirious and decried the idea itself as irrational, as opposed to a possible travel ban. They are stooping to sentiments that we heard literally 80 years ago from some countries in the heart of Europe, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He said he hoped people who made these statements would come to their senses.