Latvia refused to issue visas to Russians preventing mobilization
Latvia will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens who want to avoid assimilation or are allowed to cross the border if they already have a Schengen visa. Foreign Minister of the country Edgar Rinkevich gave this information. “For security reasons,” he explained.
On September 19, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia banned the entry of Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued to any EU country. Now Russians can only cross the border with the EU by land in Finland.
On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the unification of Russia. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, 300,000 people will be called up. A day earlier, the Russian State Duma quickly adopted amendments to the Criminal Code, which specifically impose criminal penalties for citizens who refuse to fight in the Russian army.
In early September, EU countries agreed to suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia. This led to an increase in visa fees from 35 to 80 euros, the requirement to provide additional documents, an increase in visa issuance time, and stricter rules for issuing multiple visas.
The European Commission has published recommendations on the procedure for issuing visas to Russian citizens. In particular, it is proposed to give lower priority to applicants from Russia who do not have an important reason to travel to the European Union, carefully check all applications of Russian citizens and refrain from issuing multiple-entry visas with extended validity due to their lack. “Ensure that Russian nationals continue to meet conditions of entry, particularly if the stated purpose of the trip is tourism.”
Russian citizens currently hold about 1 million valid Schengen visas. Anita Hipper, representative of the European Commission, gave this assurance to the publication Politico. Apparently, this number does not include residence permits and permanent residence permits in EU countries issued to Russian citizens. Russia has a population of about 145 million people, which means that less than 1 percent of the country’s residents have a Schengen visa.
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