Schengen Visa News

Latvia Halts Visa Issuance for Russians

Russian citizens are no longer able to obtain a visa to travel to Latvia, as the latter has stopped issuing visas to them due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.

The move was announced by a tweet posted by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevix on Thursday, who also indicated that he had summoned the Latvian ambassador to Russia.

“In light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, I have decided to summon the Latvian ambassador to Russia for consultations, as well as suspend the issuance of Latvian visas to citizens of the Russian Federation, except for cases related to special humanitarian considerations,” the minister said in his tweet.

The country has also banned three Russian televisions for “war propaganda”.

Nikolai Baskov, a citizen of the Russian Federation, was also denied entry to the territory of Latvia, for his support of the aggression against Ukraine. This step automatically obliges the rest of the Schengen area countries to ban this person from entering their territory.

“We made the decision…because they are a threat to Latvia’s national security,” Ivars Apollins, head of Latvian Broadcasting Monitoring Agency, told AFP.

At the same time, the authorities in Latvia announced that they are ready to receive 10,000 Ukrainian refugees, provide accommodation in hotels and guesthouses, distribute basic necessities, as well as vaccination against COVID-19 and testing.

According to the Latvian Samaritan Society, the first refugees from Kiev, Ukraine, arrived in Riga today. The director of the association, Anders Berzinc, claims that the same was either Latvian before, or had friends or relatives in the country or some other type of relationship.

Early in the morning of February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine, the announcement of which was followed by explosions across the country. The next day, Russian air strikes targeted the city of Kiev and began to enter the capital.

The European Union has already approved several sanctions against Russia, in an effort to push President Putin to back off the invasion, including restrictions on visa policy.

“Diplomats, related groups and businessmen will not have privileged access to the European Union,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announcing the new sanctions.

At least three other EU countries have announced visa policy restrictions – Belgium, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. The latter also stopped issuing visas for health care services to Russians.

The Russian envoy to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, has warned that all EU countries may soon suspend the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians as part of their sanctions, by emphasizing that some of them may refrain from taking such measures due to their dependence on them. Russian tourists.

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