War in Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on Western countries to stop issuing visas to citizens

War in Ukraine: Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on Western countries to stop issuing visas to citizens

“The Russians have to live in their own world as long as they don’t change their philosophy.” As Russia prepares for a referendum in the Ukrainian province of Zaporizhia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for a ban on Russian citizens in an interview to the Washington Post (in English), Monday, August 8, to prevent Russia from further annexing Ukrainian territory. The Chair urges Western countries to stop issuing visas to these nationals, especially tourists.

In his opinion, this sanction should also affect Russians who left their country for political reasons: “The population elected this government and they are not fighting it today,” he explains. The Kremlin sharply condemned Volodymyr Zelensky’s statements. “The irrationality of his thinking exceeds all standards,” said spokesman Dimitri Peskov, quoted by Russian authorities. “Such initiatives do not smell very good” and “the attempt to isolate the Russians is doomed to failure”.

The issue of visas for Russian citizens has been occupying Russia’s European neighbors for several weeks. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas reacted to the Ukrainian President’s comments. “Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” she wrote on Twitter. “As long as Schengen continues to issue visas, Russia’s neighbors will bear the burden,” she added, pointing to Finland, Estonia and Lithuania. “It’s time to end tourism from Russia.”

In fact, flights from Russia to the EU were halted after the Russian offensive erupted in Ukraine on February 24. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, has become a major transit area for Russian tourists who have been denied flights to Europe. On Thursday, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto recently unveiled a plan to limit the issuance of tourist visas to these nationals. The precious sesame would then be “preferred” reserved for family members or students. If the government gives the green light, a decision could be made by the end of the month.