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Estonia Halts E-residency Scheme for Citizens of Russia & Belarus

The authorities in Estonia have announced that they will suspend the e-residency program for citizens of Russia and Belarus amid growing concerns that the scheme could be used to avoid sanctions.

The Estonia government’s decision comes after the all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine, reports.

The Tallinn authorities stressed that they will no longer process applications from citizens of both the above-mentioned countries due to its master scheme that allows holders to open businesses as well as bank accounts and also access public services in Estonia.

“The review of e-residency applications from Belarusian or Russian citizens has been suspended, and no decision on granting e-residency will be taken until further notice,” officials noted in a statement. The country’s police force and border service.

The e-residency program allows citizens of other countries to access many services in Estonia, including banking, company formation, processing, payment and taxes.

The program does not give holders the right to live in or travel to this Baltic country; However, it allows them to open businesses and carry out financial transactions in the country.

The authorities in Estonia imposed stricter rules against Russia and Belarus due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In this regard, Interior Minister Christian Jani stressed that existing Russian e-residency holders will be subject to “extreme scrutiny”.

Similar to other European countries, the authorities in Estonia have also offered their support to Ukrainian citizens.

In this regard, the Minister of Social Affairs, Sene Risalu (Reform), said the country could support 10,000 refugees from Ukraine.

More than 1,00 displaced people have already entered Estonia since Russia attacked Ukraine.

Up to this point, according to the minister, 806 people needed support in obtaining housing from the government of Estonia, but more than 1,400 people arrived in Estonia in total.

This was discussed at last Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, and the opinion came to the conclusion that Estonia was ready to receive 10,000 people. This is a figure that does not cause concern for the Estonian community. Risalu noted in this regard that Latvia and Lithuania are ready to reduce the same number, which is between 10,000 – 30,000 people.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led EU countries, as well as countries outside the EU, to impose sanctions as well as stop Russian airlines from their airspace.

In this regard, the Baltic states unanimously banned Russian airlines from entering their airspace and called on other countries to take similar measures.

In this regard, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that there is no place for planes from the aggressor country in a democratic atmosphere.

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