Slovakia, which recently supported Sweden and Finland joining NATO, has confirmed that it will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian tourists who flee Russia after a partial mobilization has been announced. Thus, the former Soviet union republic joined the Czech Republic and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) – they all refused to receive Russians who hastily left the Russian Federation since September 21. Germany takes a different position.
“The category of humanitarian visas is not an exact definition. Visas can be granted for humanitarian purposes and Slovakia is currently evaluating each case separately. In this case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not the only body that makes the decision,” Juraj Tomag, representative of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained to Schengenvisainfo.
According to a report provided by the Spectator, Slovakia currently only approves tourist visas for Russian citizens visiting relatives who live in Slovakia for study purposes. In addition, it has been confirmed that Russian athletes are also eligible for such visas to participate in competitions.
Recall that back in March, the Slovak authorities decided to cancel the visa-free regime for all persons with Russian diplomatic passports. For example, Estonia has already suspended the issuance of visas to all citizens of Russia. Recently, the authorities of the Baltic country announced that they are denying entry to all persons with dual citizenship in cases where one of the two citizenships is Russian (read more at this link). The decision comes after the number of border crossings increased markedly last week after President Putin announced the call for 300,000 reservists.
In this regard, Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) emphasized that the police, as well as the Border Guard Board, have already confirmed that Russian tourists with dual citizenship are prohibited from entering the Schengen country. This issue has caused controversy among the authorities in the countries of the European Union. While some countries agree that entry rules for Russian citizens should be tightened, others do not support this idea.
For example, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis recently also announced that the country would not grant asylum to Russians fleeing mobilization. This decision was confirmed in a statement released by the minister, while he stressed that instead of leaving their country, supposedly the Russians should stay and fight against their president. The Finnish authorities have also announced tougher entry rules for Russian citizens.
On the other hand, Germany is ready to accept “fugitives” with open arms. So, last Thursday, German Interior Minister Nancy Feiser made a statement. According to the press secretary of the European Commission (EC) on the same day, each EU member state decides for itself whether to allow arrivals from Russia to its territory. According to the spokesman, EU states should always guarantee the entry of tourists applying for asylum in the EU, and then consider their applications individually.
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