Russians banned from entering Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

The foreign ministers of European Union members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed to restrict the entry of Russian citizens traveling from Russia.

The scheme would be the first of its kind in the EU.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said the three Baltic nations expect the entry ban to be in place by mid-September.

In a press conference in Lithuania, he said, “In the last couple of weeks and months, the border crossing by Russian citizens holding Schengen visas have dramatically increased. This is becoming a public security issue, this is also an issue of a moral and political
nature.”

With the exception of those entering for humanitarian and family reasons, as well as lorry drivers and diplomats, the countries will turn back all Russian citizens with visas to
enter the EU’s Schengen open border area.

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, direct flights between Russia and the EU were canceled, leaving few options for Russians to travel into the EU.

On 18th August, Estonia introduced a softer ban that barred the entry of Russians holding Schengen visas issued by Estonian authorities.

In a briefing, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said due to legal uncertainty over whether it can refuse Russian nationals with Schengen visas issued by other European nations, Finland, which also borders Russia, will not implement the ban.

“Can you actually cancel the whole Schengen principles? This is, at the moment, still unclear,” he said.