Borrell opposes total visa ban for Russians

Borrell opposes total visa ban for Russians

The EU’s top diplomat commented on an idea promoted by some Eastern European nations

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, has said he does not support a ban on all Russian citizens visiting the bloc, an idea some member states have supported.

Speaking during a political forum in Spain on Monday, he called the proposal «controversial» and said the EU should be more specific in its sanctions against Russia.

“Banning all Russians out would not be a good idea. We have to be more selective. Of course, we should not open the doors to the oligarchs.” the official said, noting that wealthy Russians were free to buy real estate in the EU.

“But there are also many Russians who want to flee their country, because they don’t want to live there.” Borrell added. “Are we going to close the door on those Russians?”

The Ukrainian leadership has been openly advocating punishing Russia by suspending the issuance of most visas to Russian citizens. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky went further and suggested that Russian citizens should be expelled from the EU regardless of their attitude towards the policies of his government. Those who fear returning to their home country could apply for asylum, he said.

EU weighs in on visa restrictions for Russians

Some nations, such as Finland and Estonia, have moved to restrict the issuance of visas to Russians, although other member states, notably Germany and Cyprus, have opposed this idea. The bloc said it was considering what position to take on visas for Russians.

Moscow has said such restrictions were evidence that anti-Russian xenophobia was guiding the policies of some EU nations.

Borrell was speaking at an act called ‘Quo Vadis Europa? The birth of a geopolitical Europe’ in the Spanish city of Santander. The annual event was broadcast by the Spanish office of the European Commission.

Melissa Galbraith
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