Poland and the Baltic States are considering a ban on the entry of Russians, regardless of the EU

Poland and the three Baltic states said on Wednesday they were considering banning entry to Russian travelers if the EU as a whole does not do so.

EU foreign ministers are meeting in Prague, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, to discuss travel restrictions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine that began in February.

In a joint statement obtained by AFP, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which border Russia, said the suspension of the 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement proposed by the president was “a necessary first step.”

The move, supported by many EU members, including Germany, will make EU visas more expensive for Russian travelers and remove the visa deadline.

“But we need to drastically limit the number of issued visas, primarily tourist visas, in order to reduce the flow of Russian citizens to the European Union and the Schengen area,” they added.

They said the move should contain exemptions “for dissidents as well as other humanitarian cases.”

“Until such measures are taken at the EU level, we … will consider introducing temporary measures at the national level to ban the issuance of visas or restrict border crossings for Russian citizens holding EU visas,” the statement said in English.

Speaking to reporters in Prague on Wednesday, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu called for “a ban on the entry of citizens of the Russian Federation into the European Union,” but suggested that the EU might move too slowly.

“Time is of the essence, and the loss of time is paid for with the blood of Ukrainians,” he said.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday in Copenhagen that Russians should not receive any visas “except for humanitarian ones.”

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