VILNIUS, August 11. /TASS/. The Estonian authorities have made a decision to ban Russian citizens with Estonia-issued Schengen visas from entering its territory, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told a government news briefing on Thursday.
"In a week from now the sanction will be applied to Schengen visas issued by Estonia. Visa holders from Russia will be subject to restrictions. They will be denied entry to Estonia," he said.
Reinsalu added that a number of exceptions would be made to this rule. In particular, the staffers of diplomatic offices in Estonia and their families, as well as persons engaged in international transportation or having the right to free movement under EU laws will be exempt from the ban. Also, the restrictions will not apply to persons whose entry into Estonia is necessary for humanitarian reasons and close relatives of the country’s citizens or holders of Estonia’s permanent residence permit.
Reinsalu said that Estonia had data on more than 50,000 valid Schengen visas issued to Russian citizens.
Earlier, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that she considered it necessary to ban the issuance of EU tourist visas to Russian citizens. Later, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said that a proposal to that effect had been submitted for discussion in the EU. A representative of the European Commission, while commenting on the possibility of such restrictions on Thursday, told the media that the EU countries must comply with their international obligations and ensure the issuance of visas to members of the EU citizens’ families, humanitarian workers, journalists and residents. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to Kallas’s proposal that a number of countries that Moscow had already declared unfriendly, displayed amnesia in their unfriendliness.