We know that Russian agents use forged documents and undertake various operations using tourist visas, reported the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Urmas Reinsalu in an interview with the “Helsingin Sanomat” daily.
The Finnish daily writes in its Saturday edition that at the beginning of the next week, the Baltic states and Poland are practically closing their borders to Russian travelers. Then too Finland will be the only EU neighboring country Russiathrough which Russian citizens will be able (despite restrictions on the Finnish side) to enter the Schengen area.
The head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Reinsalu, drew attention to three reasons for the agreement EstoniaLithuania, Latvia and Poland on the entry ban for Russians on short-term Schengen visas.
The first is concerns about a “security risk”. According to the data of the Ukrainian services, the head of the Estonian Foreign Ministry said, in February the number of Russian agents crossing the borders increased sharply. Also in Estonia, once it started wars in Ukraine, thousands of Russians were registered crossing the border. The minister also referred to the trial the 2008 murders of Sergei and Julia Skripal in Great Britain, when Russian agents traveled on tourist visas.
The second reason, he explained, is moral. According to him, it is a “shocking situation” for Ukrainian workers and refugees to serve rich Russians in, for example, European resorts.
Moreover, one should understand – he explained – that the attack on Ukraine it is not just Putin’s war, but the entire Russian state, and the effects of the sanctions should “be comprehensive and felt by Russian society.” This is the third reason – he pointed out – why Estonia does not intend to grant Russians the right of entry.
The Finns only restrict the entry of Russians
The Estonian minister revealed that the services of his country in recent weeks made efforts for Finland to join the agreement of the Baltic states and Poland to close the borders to the Russians. Finland, however, did not do this, and its Foreign Ministry explained that a general entry ban for citizens of one country (Russia) was contrary to national and international law.
Instead of a radical ban, the Finnish authorities have limited the number of visa applications accepted from Russians. According to the guidelines, consular offices process a maximum of about 100 tourist visa applications per day. The services are to prioritize cases for issuing family, work or student visas.
However, visas for Russians are now issued not only by Finland, but for example France or Spain and other countries. This, in turn, was pointed out by Sven Sakkov, the Estonian ambassador in Helsinki, quoted by “Ilta-Sanomat”.
– If in the context of the perception of the war there are no radical turns, for example a change in the attitude of the (European) community in relation to the crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, I do not expect a pan-European ban or restrictions on entry for Russians to the European Union – said Minister Reinsalu.
From Monday, the number of Russians on the Finnish border will increase significantly – both Estonian and Finnish services predict.
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