Kremlin sharply critical of Ukraine’s call for travel ban on Russians

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RIGA, Latvia – The Kremlin on Tuesday condemned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s appeal. Ban All Russian travelers from visiting Western countries to prevent Russia from annexing more Ukrainian territory.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday that all Russians, including tourists, business executives, students and others, should be denied visas to travel to the West, after Zelensky told The Washington Post that “the only possible view we have is extremely negative.” .

Zelensky said that “the most important restriction is to close the border – because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land.” Russians “must live in their own world until they change their philosophy,” he added.

Finland, Estonia and Latvia have either expressed concern or stopped issuing visas to Russian tourists traveling to Europe during Russia’s brutal war. European Union leaders are expected to discuss the issue later this month, which will hurt Russia’s middle class, which likes to vacation in France, Italy and Spain and send its children to the top. Universities abroad.

Peskov said such ideas “smell badly” and that any attempt to isolate Russia or the Russian people is unlikely to succeed.

“In fact, this is a statement that speaks for itself. Of course, most likely, in this case their irrational thinking has risen to the top, ”said Peskov. He reiterated the Kremlin’s line on sanctions — that they hurt the West, especially Europe, more than Russia, as Russia seeks to widen any gap between the United States and Europe over sanctions.

“Zelensky needs to understand that European countries, which … are trying to punish Russia … have begun to pay the price,” Peskov said. “Both countries and their citizens are paying the price. Sooner or later, these countries will wonder if Zelensky is doing everything right, their citizens will have to pay for his wishes.

Some countries have already stopped issuing visas to Russians or demanded they sign statements opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Latvia announced last week that it was indefinitely Suspension of Visa Issuance It requires Russian travelers entering the country with existing visas to sign statements opposing the Russian people and the war against Ukraine.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is called Tuesday for European countries to ban Russian tourists.

“Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting #Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” she said in a tweet: “It’s time to end tourism in Russia.” Callas said countries bordering Russia are being hit by Russian visa applications, which Russians must check before they travel to other destinations. The countries travel by land because the European Union closed its airspace to Russian planes after the invasion of Ukraine.

Finnish Prime Minister Sana Marin said Russian tourists will not be able to go to Europe for a holiday on Monday. She said the issue is expected to be discussed by leaders of EU nations later this month.

“At a time when Russia is waging a war of aggressive, brutal aggression in Europe, it is not right that Russians can live normal lives, travel to Europe, be tourists. It’s not right,” she told Finnish national public broadcaster Yelle.

Many Russians use the country as a transit point to other destinations, with Russian border crossings up 30 percent since last month, when coronavirus travel restrictions between the two countries were lifted, according to Finland’s foreign ministry.

In southern Ukraine, meanwhile, Russian proxies appointed to run the occupied territories are pushing ahead with plans to hold a referendum next month to become part of Russia.

Russia’s appointees have said they may hold annexation votes next month in occupied parts of eastern and southern Ukraine – the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions – in an attempt to legitimize Russian occupation of the area. The referendum held in Crimea in 2014 and two self-proclaimed separatist “republics” in eastern Ukraine are a resurgence of Russia’s playbook. The votes did not receive international recognition, but Russia used them to strengthen its grip on the territories, then annexed Crimea and, before the February 24 invasion, recognized the two pro-Moscow republics as independent.

Accordingly, the Kremlin’s main dilemma lies in pushing ahead with the referendum Analyst, they will lack legitimacy when it comes to blatant electoral fraud and intimidation. And Putin is thought to be unlikely to be happy with about 90 percent of voters endorsing Russia’s annexation.

But Russian state-owned news agency Tass reported on Monday that voting in Zaporizhia could be done online, sparking fears that the vote could be rigged. Russia used online voting in the 2021 election, a system that opposition candidates denounced, saying it was used to falsify the results and defeat members of the opposition.

Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken and senior White House officials have warned that trying to seize land through a “sham” referendum would “impose additional costs on Russia.”

In addition to its referendum plans, Moscow is taking other measures to incorporate occupied Ukrainian territories into Russia, with top officials making frequent visits. Among them is Sergei Kiriyenko, the first deputy head of the presidential administration, who is driving the unification efforts.

There is also Moscow by sending Hundreds of Russian school teachers went to Ukraine to implement Russia’s educational curriculum, including Ukrainian history. It is broadcasting Russian state propaganda about the country’s “denazification” and issuing Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens.



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