According to the top diplomat of the EU, the bloc’s foreign ministers have decided to stop a visa-facilitation arrangement with Russia, which might make it more difficult and expensive for Russians to travel to the region.
EU foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell defended the choice in a tweet, arguing that since mid-July, there has been a “significant increase” in the number of Russian visitors visiting neighbouring European countries.
In addition, despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, he told reporters at a news conference held after a two-day meeting of foreign ministers in Prague that many Russians are travelling to Europe for pleasure and shopping. According to a Reuters story, member states are still divided on the idea of outright prohibiting Russian citizens from obtaining travel visas.
“This has become a security risk for these neighbouring states,” he added. “In addition to that, we have seen many Russians traveling for leisure and shopping as if no war was raging in Ukraine.”
According to diplomats, member nations were unable to quickly come to an agreement on a general restriction on Russians receiving travel visas. Since the middle of July, there have been significantly more border crossings from Russia into neighbouring states, according to Borrell.