Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, 61,000 people have entered Poland. 514 citizens of Russia – reports “Rzeczpospolita”. This is despite the fact that Poland is among the few countries that have not issued tourist visas to Russians since the beginning of the war.
The newspaper notes that despite the war, thousands of Russians are entering EU countries, including Poland. Ukrainians urge them not to issue visas anymore.
“Poland is among the few countries that have not issued Russian tourist visas since Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Nevertheless, 61,514 Russian citizens entered Poland from February 24 to August 9,” writes Rzeczpospolita, citing data provided by the Guard Borderline. This is ten times less than before the pandemic, but almost as much as in the same period in 2021.
The journal explains that this is because the restrictions apply to tourist traffic, the Polish border with Belarus and Russia can still be crossed by Russian students, people with work permits or the so-called residence titles.
Despite the restrictions for Russians in Europe, including the lack of direct air connections, this holiday there is no shortage of Russian tourists on the streets of Paris, Prague and Budapest. Because still Most EU countries issue Russians with 90-day Schengen visas – they can travel all over Europe for 35 euros. Poland must honor them and admit Russian citizens to its territory.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, recently called on Western countries to stop issuing visas to citizens of the Russian Federation. The head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, repeated the appeal on Wednesday. The addressees were the EU countries and the G7 groups.
However, the idea of introducing a complete ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens is condemned by the Anti-War Committee of Russia, which supports Ukraine, including by providing humanitarian aid. It associates, among others such famous opponents of Putin as Gari Kasparov, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Viktor Szenderovich. They believe that the “Russia visa block” will only be of benefit to the Kremlin.
According to “Rzeczpospolita”, Brussels awaits a discussion about Ukrainian demands. It is known that some EU countries, such as Estonia, support them. Official applications are to be sent to the European Commission to ban the issuing of Schengen visas for Russian citizens.
The newspaper points out that not only Russian tourists want to get to Europe, but also people fleeing persecution. Only in Poland, from the beginning of January to the end of July this year, applications for international protection were filed by a thousand Russian citizens, 400 more than a year earlier. However, most of them are not oppositionists, but Caucasians, who have been storming European borders for several years.