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Baltic states to enforce restrictions on entry for Russians as of Monday

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia will begin enforcing the previously announced restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens with Schengen visas. The Baltic States cite national security concerns as one of the main reasons.

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The restrictions will apply to citizens of the Russian Federation bearing short-term Schengen visas travelling for reasons other than indispensable, e.g. tourism.

Travelling for humanitarian reasons will be among the exemptions from the rule.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry stressed that “free travel of citizens of a country that is an aggressor, especially for tourists purposes, while the armed forces of that country are attacking Ukraine, does not just amoral, but also constitutes a serious threat to public order and security on the level of both political provocation, as well as aggression in public space.”

To drive the message home, Latvian Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs, posted a Tweet in Russian, in which he tells Russian people to not even “try crossing the border, no one is waiting for you here, finish the war against Ukraine and get out of that beautiful country!”

??⛔️С 19 сентября Латвия, по соображениям безопастности и в связи с российской агрессии, ограничивает въезд российским гражданам с шенгенскими визами. Россияне, не пытайтесь пересечь границу, вас здесь не ждут, прекращайте войну против ?? и убирайтесь из этой прекрасной страны!

— Edgars Rinkēvičs (@edgarsrinkevics) September 16, 2022

Urmas Reinsalu, his Estonian counterpart, pointed out that tourist visas are frequently used by Russian agents. He revealed that Estonian security services have appealed to Finland to join the agreement to close borders for Russians, but the Finnish Foreign Ministry denied doing so, claiming that a blanket ban on citizens of one country would be in breach of Finnish and international law.

Estonia and Finland expect that the number of Russians trying to cross the EU border into Finland will increase as a result.

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Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda called the restrictions on issuing EU visas to Russian citizens an “effective and just measure,” but also claimed that the EU-wide solution was insufficient and must be taken further, stressing that “the war must become an insufferable burden to the aggressor”.

The regional agreement made by the Baltic states also includes Poland and was announced by the four countries’ PMs on September 8.

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