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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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Lithuania’s FM needs visa ban for anti-Putin Russians

Change occurs “from within” and thus the opposition ought to keep within the nation, Gabrielius Landsbergis mentioned

A blanket Schengen visa ban for Russian residents would permit extra individuals who disapprove of the federal government to be stored within the nation, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis mentioned on Saturday. These individuals would thus change into a driving pressure of political change, the FM believes. 

In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the minister talked about what he sees as an unfair scenario when Ukrainians are fleeing their nation or combating for his or her properties, whereas Russians can nonetheless take pleasure in touring to Europe.

When requested if he want to see a Schengen visa ban utilized to these Russians who’re in opposition to the navy motion in Ukraine and who may be dealing with persecution in their very own nation, Landsbergis mentioned that he believes that “change comes from within.” Therefore, he argued, the state of affairs of ‘two Russias,’ certainly one of which might be in emigration, is just not very important. He careworn that even when solely 5-10% individuals in Russia oppose the nation’s actions in Ukraine, that will nonetheless imply tens of millions of individuals. The actual change – the institution of “democratic Russia” – will probably be prompted by these individuals, and thus it’s higher in the event that they keep of their home nation, the minister mentioned.

Landsbergis argued that the EU might impose a complete ban on visas for Russian residents, besides for many who apply on humanitarian grounds. He mentioned that his nation, by working with varied non-government organizations, has already discovered a great way to determine when humanitarian grounds are legitimate.

The three Baltic nations – Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia – have been identified for his or her harsh insurance policies in direction of Russia and had been among the many first nations to impose visa restrictions on Russian residents in response to Moscow’s navy operation in Ukraine. They are actually on the forefront of the decision for an EU-wide visa ban.

Germany and lots of EU officers, nevertheless, have been skeptical of the thought. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz cited the “very far-reaching sanctions” imposed on Russia and mentioned {that a} visa ban would weaken their effectiveness “if it was directed against everyone, including innocent people.”

A spokeswoman for the European Commission mentioned {that a} complete ban would merely be illegal and that every utility should be thought of individually.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting in July on the Schengen visa ban proposals, mentioned that Moscow hopes that the EU would present frequent sense. However, he didn’t rule out “actions of an emotional nature.”

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