The leader of Latvia proposes to cancel the residence permits of foreigners who support Russian aggression

He stated this on Saturday while addressing the participants of the 23rd rally of the victims of political repressions in Latvia in Ikškilė.

According to the Presidency of Latvia, E. Levitas recently stated that such discussions regarding Russian tourists in Europe are taking place not only in Latvia, but also in various other European countries, primarily in Estonia and Finland, which directly border on Russiaas well as in the Czech Republic, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

“Is it politically and morally justified that while the Russian army is killing and burning in Ukraine, Russian tourists can rest peacefully in Europe?” the president asked rhetorically.

He reminded that Latvia tourist visas have not been issued since the first day of the war, February 24, but other countries continue to issue them. Russian tourists come to Latvia not only with tourist visas previously issued by Latvia, but also with visas issued by other Schengen countries, such as Finland or Italy.

Therefore, E. Levitas believes that Latvia, together with Finland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and other countries that hold the same opinion, should demand at the European level that tourist visas should no longer be issued to Russian citizens. This, in his opinion, would amount to additional sanctions against Russia.

However, the president of Latvia admitted that certain European countries, where Russian tourists are known to leave a lot of money, will not be happy with such an offer. The German chancellor also expressed doubts about such a proposal.

“But I think it’s necessary to talk about it. In principle, it is necessary to talk about it”, emphasized E. Levitas.

The head of Latvia is also of the opinion that residence permits and visas already issued in Latvia should be reviewed and such documents issued to persons who support Russian aggression should be canceled. In any case, according to him, the validity of such permits should in principle not be extended, except in specific cases where it is proven that there are special circumstances.

The president also believes that residence permits should no longer be issued to permanent residents of Latvia who accept Russian citizenship, and such persons should leave the country.

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the presidency of the European Union, said on Friday that a visa ban on all Russian citizens could complement sanctions imposed by the community against Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

“A general suspension of Russian visas in all EU member states could be another very effective sanction,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement obtained by the AFP news agency.

He indicated that he would propose this idea during the meeting of EU foreign ministers to be held in Prague at the end of August.

“In the course of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin continues to escalate, there can be no question of normal tourism for Russian citizens,” said J. Lipavsky.

The EU has so far announced six packages of sanctions against Russia.

In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West not to let in any travelers from Russia. According to him, Russians should “live in their own world until their philosophy changes.”

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