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EU country stops issuing visas to Russians — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union

The Latvian Embassy in Moscow has made an exception only for people attending the funeral of a close relative

The Latvian Embassy in Russia announced on Thursday that it has stopped accepting visa applications from Russian citizens. “For an undetermined time”.

The diplomatic mission said in a tweet that the only exception would be made for those who requested entry “to attend the funeral of a loved one”. A similar announcement was posted on the website of the Latvian visa center in Moscow.

His spokesman told RIA Novosti on Friday that visa issuance had been suspended the previous day.

The Latvian authorities did not specify the reasons for this decision, but this decision reinforces other measures imposed on Russian citizens in the spring after Moscow launched its military offensive against Ukraine.

At the time, Riga announced that it would stop processing all tourist visas. However, Russians were still allowed to apply for long-term employment and journalist visas, as well as to apply for entry on humanitarian grounds. Similar restrictions have been imposed by some other EU member states, such as Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic.

On Thursday, Latvian news outlet Delfi reported that the Latvian government plans to follow a recommendation from the state security service and subject visa applicants from Russia and Belarus to additional security checks.

On July 30, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called for an EU-wide ban on issuing tourist visas to Russians.

His Estonian colleague, Urmas Reinsalu, went even further by proposing a total EU visa ban for Russian citizens. According to Bloomberg, Reinsalu hopes to see the measure in the next EU sanctions package and has already discussed it with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

Poland has also considered doing so before, but, in a recent commentary for Deutsche Welle, the German Foreign Office said the issuing of Schengen visas could only be stopped on the basis of a consensus between all countries. Schengen, and, at the moment, there is no such decision.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, commenting in July on proposed Schengen visa bans, said Moscow hoped the EU would show common sense. However, he did not rule out “actions of an emotional nature”.

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