Visa Denied: Europe Moves to Close Its Doors to Russians

Any such proposal by the EU would be an attempt to appease both sides of a growing divide within the bloc over whether Russian tourists should continue to enjoy holidays in Europe even as their government continues to wage war against Ukraine and commit suspected war crimes that number in the thousands.

On one side is a growing number of typically front-line EU states that are pushing for a complete ban on Russian visitors.

Such a visa ban was first mooted by Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who said in his weekly address on August 14: "The discussion about visa restrictions in Europe for holders of Russian passports is expanding every day. New states and new politicians are joining it."

This list is now at least eight countries long, and includes the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, three Nordic states - Finland, Norway and Sweden - as well as Poland and the Czech Republic. Prague holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU Council and is leading the effort.

What particularly irks these countries is that tourist visas issued to Russians by other EU states can be used to visit any of the 26 countries that make up the Schengen free movement area - 22 EU states, plus Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Liechtenstein - for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

This has led to some unsavoury incidents over the summer, such as the video of the wife of Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman and top propagandist, enjoying herself on a night out in Greece, and a Russian tourist who filmed herself mocking and harassing Ukrainian women on the streets of Salzburg, Austria.

Representatives of states supporting a ban have made their feelings known in several opinion pieces in the lead-up to this week's...

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