Zelenskyy calls on the West to ban all Russians from entering their countries

Zelenskyy calls on the West to ban all Russians from entering their countries

In response to Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the West to bar all Russians from entering their countries.

The embattled president called on world leaders to close their borders to all citizens of the invading nation as a further punishment for the Kremlin for its cruelty.

He told the Washington Post: “The most important sanctions are closing the borders – because the Russians are taking someone else’s country.”

He added that Russians should be forced “to live in their own world until they change their philosophy”.

The Ukrainian leader wants the West to close its borders to Russian citizens for a year and impose a full embargo on Russian energy purchases.

In response to Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the West to bar all Russians from entering their countries

Throughout the war he urged stronger retaliation against Putin, saying current sanctions are “weak” compared to what is needed.

While Russian airlines have been banned from overflying much of Europe and the US, there is no blanket travel ban on citizens.

Yesterday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for restrictions on tourist visas for Russians.

Some say denying entry to Russians would likely impact those leaving the country precisely because they disagree with Putin’s regime.

But Zelenskyi said: “What kind of Russians… let them go to Russia.

‘Then they will understand. They’ll say, “That [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible for that, can it?’ It can. The people elected this government and they don’t fight it, don’t argue with it, don’t yell at it.’

The embattled president has urged world leaders to close their borders to all citizens of the invading nation in a bid to further punish Putin (pictured yesterday).

The embattled president has urged world leaders to close their borders to all citizens of the invading nation in a bid to further punish Putin (pictured yesterday).

In the past 24 hours, at least three Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 23 others injured by Russian shelling, including an attack near a Russian-held nuclear power plant.

Putin’s men fired over 120 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at the southern town of Nikopol, which lies across the Dnieper from the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

Several residential buildings and industrial plants were damaged, he said.

In recent days, Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and increasing the risk of a nuclear accident.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy referred to the 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, which was then a Soviet republic. He called for new sanctions against Russia “because it has created the risk of another nuclear catastrophe.”

A view shows a hotel building in the Russian-controlled city of Svitlodarsk in the Donetsk region, recently hit by shelling amid the conflict between Ukraine and Russia

A view shows a hotel building in the Russian-controlled city of Svitlodarsk in the Donetsk region, recently hit by shelling amid the conflict between Ukraine and Russia

Russian military Grad multiple rocket launchers fire rockets at Ukrainian troops

Russian military Grad multiple rocket launchers fire rockets at Ukrainian troops

“We are actively informing the world about Russian nuclear blackmail – about the shelling and mining of the Zaporizhia NPP facilities,” said Zelenskyy.

“Russia will pay no heed to words and worries… The Chernobyl disaster is an explosion in a reactor; the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant consists of six power plant units.”

The Kremlin on Monday claimed that the Ukrainian military was attacking the facility and called on western powers to force Kyiv to halt the activity.

A Russian-deployed official in the partially occupied Zaporizhia region said an air defense system at the plant was being reinforced after last week’s shelling.

Evgeny Balitsky, the head of the Kremlin-backed administration, told Russian state television on Tuesday that power lines and damaged blocks at the plant have been restored.

“The system works normally, but of course with an increased level of safety,” said Balitsky.

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

A soldier with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

A Ukrainian counter-offensive and Russian defensive actions in occupied areas have increasingly drawn firepower into southern Ukraine.

After failing to capture Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, early in the war, the Russian military focused its strength on capturing the entire eastern Donbass region of the country.

Pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting Russian forces in the region for eight years, controlling some areas as self-proclaimed republics.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday that Russian forces made the most progress moving towards the town of Bakhmut over the past month – an advance limited to about 6 miles.

“In other Donbass sectors where Russia attempted a breakthrough, its forces gained no more than 3 km in these 30 days; almost certainly significantly less than planned,” the UK ministry said.

However, the ministry warned that despite the attention required in southern Ukraine, Russia has continued attacks on Ukrainian positions in the east.

The governor of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk province, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said the Russians were trying to step up their offensive in several areas.

Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, has come under Russian shelling four times in the past 24 hours, and parts of the city’s infrastructure have been damaged.

France lifts strict Russia ban after castle turns visitors away

France said a ban on Russian nationals entering military installations was applied too harshly when two Russian visitors were turned away at the Chateau de Vincennes.

Once the residence of French kings and one of the best-preserved monuments of its kind in Europe, the château is open to the public for the most part, including tours, concerts, theatrical performances and other events.

It also houses part of the historical archives of the French Armed Forces, to which access is restricted.

Technically a military installation, then, it is subject to a French ban on Russian nationals from entering army territory, imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Using the rule, security forces at the Chateau de Vincennes denied two Russian women access to the monument on July 28.

“A guard at the metal detector wanted to see my passport,” said one of the 31-year-old woman journalist who has been in France for five months after leaving Russia, “precisely because I am against the war.”

Upon reviewing the document, the guard told her she could not pass, the woman, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Another guard also refused her entry, citing the reason “because you are Russian,” she said, adding that she couldn’t believe what she heard.

Contacted by AFP on Monday, the Defense Ministry confirmed that it had indeed “restricted access to military installations to Russian nationals” because of the invasion.

But after media reports and commentary on social media, the ministry contacted AFP on Tuesday to say that the guards had indeed “indiscriminately applied a rule introduced in February in relation to all military installations.”

“This rule cannot be applied equally to strategic locations and publicly accessible locations such as museums,” said a spokesman.

The ministry said security personnel are now being informed of the distinction “to prevent further incidents of this nature”.

About 150,000 people visit the castle each year and pay 9.50 euros ($9.70) per adult entry.

Other army-run tourist attractions, including the Air and Space Museum at Le Bourget and Les Invalides in Paris, would also allow Russians entry, the ministry official said.

France has taken in around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in February, government figures show.

According to the national statistics office Insee, around 73,500 Russian immigrants lived in France in 2021.

There has been debate within the European Union about whether further restrictions should be imposed on Russians visiting the bloc for tourism or personal reasons.

Russia’s neighbor Finland last week published a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians, but also stressed the need for an EU-level decision on the matter.

And on Tuesday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called on the EU government to “stop issuing tourist visas to Russians.”