Estonia, Finland to convoke a complete ban on Russian tourist visas

 Thursday, August 11, 2022 

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The governments of Estonia and Finland urge the leaders of European countries to end tourism for Russians in their respective nations. This move comes as a retaliation to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Russian citizens must not be able to take vacations to Europe while the country conducts a conflict in Ukraine, asserts the leaders of Estonia and Finland.

This plea comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy went further to air a proposal in media against visas for Russians in all Western nations. Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, stated on Twitter on Tuesday that travelling to Europe is a privilege rather than a fundamental human right and that it is “time to ban tourism from Russia now.” Sanna Marin, her counterpart in Finland stated that it is unacceptable that Russians travel around Europe, be tourists, while the country rages an aggressive, brutal war in the very same Europe. Latvia has already decided to end the visas.

Estonia and Finland are both neighboring nations of Russia, bordering its west and north-western sides respectively. As members of the European nation, these nations already banned air travel from Russia after it waged the brutal conquest.

Travellers can freely move between the 26 countries that make up the Schengen region, which consists of 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Visitors  from abroad with a Schengen visa are also accepted in an additional 19 non-Schengen nations. Russian companies have begun to provide bus and vehicle rides from St. Petersburg to the airports in Helsinki and Lappeenranta in Finland, according to a report by the Finnish broadcaster last week. The second-largest city in Russia is just about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from the capital of Finland, and those airports have direct connections to a number of locations in Europe.

Both the Kremlin and its detractors in Russia are outraged by the calls for a travel ban. Public figures on the opposition side of the political spectrum denounced the comments in social media posts as supporting Moscow’s anti-Western propaganda and useless for putting an end to the war. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, expressed his “hope” that “common reason” will finally win out in nations pushing for travel restrictions against Russians entering the EU. Peskov also interjected that Zelenskyy’s remarks were “extremely negative.”

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