VILNIUS, August 13. /TASS/. The fact that Russian nationals can enter Estonia on a visa issued by other Schengen Agreement countries represents ‘a serious challenge’, Estonia’s ERR online portal quoted Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets as saying on Friday.
"The concern is that 131,000 people may enter Estonia <...> who have received visas in other European states and will be in transit. It's a bigger challenge for us," Laanemets told ERR, "If we close borders inside the Schengen area, it would create problems for the Estonians themselves. It would cost 4 million euros a month, and it would require redeployment of border guards from external to internal borders. It makes much more sense to do it together with other EU countries."
On August 18, Estonia will stop letting in Russians with issued Schengen visas. As Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu explained on Thursday, visas will remain valid, but their holders will be subject to sanctions, that is, their entry into Estonia will be banned.
There are a number of exceptions. In particular, employees of Russian diplomatic missions in Estonia and their families, as well as persons engaged in international transport or having the right of free movement under EU laws will not fall under the sanctions. In addition, the restrictions will not apply to persons whose entry into the country is necessary for humanitarian reasons, the close relatives of Estonian citizens and holders of permanent residence permits in the country.