Latvian president calls for revoking visas, residence permits for Russians supporting war

14 August, 04:06 PM
Egils Levits (Photo:Saeima/www.flickr.com)

Egils Levits (Photo:Saeima/www.flickr.com)

Russian citizens who support their country’s aggression should have their visas and residence permits revoked, Latvian news agency Delfi quoted President Egils Levits as saying on Aug. 13.

According to the president, residence permits will no longer be issued to those permanent residents of Latvia who will obtain Russian citizenship.

“They will have to leave our country,” he said.

According to Levits, “trading” in residence permits and “unjustified generosity” in their issuance, “which only served the vested interests of some political businessmen, created security risks and contributed to bilingualism and dangerous politics.”

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The Latvian president said that Russia had always been imperialist and posed a threat to its neighbors.

“The killing of innocent people, torture, humiliation, deportation, deprivation of human dignity – everything that is happening in Ukraine today also happened here, in our country, in Latvia,” he said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President’s Office, also spoke on Twitter of the need to introduce visa restrictions for Russian citizens.

“Why are visa restrictions for Russians needed? Six months of war proved: they do not care about murders, destroyed cities, nuclear blackmail, Bucha or Mariupol,” he tweeted.

According to him, only talk about the loss of visas would bring Russian public awareness about the war and a feeling of responsibility back.

“It is first step...to Russian rebellion,: Podolyak tweeted.

The Czech Republic, which is currently presiding over the Council of the European Union, will offer to consider the ban on issuing visas to Russians at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in late August.

The idea of a complete ban on entry to Western countries for all Russians is gaining more and more supporters: in addition to Ukraine, such calls are voiced by Russia’s European neighbors. Many of them have already closed their borders to Russian citizens, but demand a collective decision from the EU countries.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced on Aug. 8 that she wants to limit the travel of Russians to Finland and other EU countries.

Earlier the Latvian Embassy in Russia said it had stopped issuing visas to Russians for an indefinite period.

Estonia announced on Aug. 11 that it would ban Russians with Estonian-issued Schengen visas from entering the country from Aug. 18.

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