EU to discuss visa ban for Russians, training Kiev troops at Prague talks

Some countries have been calling for an EU-wide blanket ban on tourist visas, but the bloc was divided on the issue.

EU foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, warned against cutting off people who are against the war or “civil society” in Russia.

He pointed out that some specific individuals who support Putin’s “regime” are already subject to travel bans.

Borrell also acknowledged countries can take measures at a national level to restrict entry into the EU.

Among the opponents of a total ban were France and Germany

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said she was unsure it would work, saying that the EU had already seen a decline in visa numbers from Russians in recent months.

She added visas had been issued to “people who stood up courageously” against the war, like journalists or students, giving them a “chance to get out of Russia very, very quickly” to safety.

But earlier Estonia’s Foreign Minister said the EU must “ramp up” its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The loss of time is paid by blood of Ukrainians,” Urmas Reinsalu said,

Meanwhile Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said: “We now have the situation that it is primarily rich Russians who come to Europe to go shopping.

“That is something that overall is probably not a very good idea.”