Officials of the European Union (E.U) are unsatisfied with the impact of sanctions and other measures initiated against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and are considering targeting all Russians, including civilians.
Target in what way?
E.U. Foreign Ministers have been in talks about whether to limit travel permits for Russian citizens or outright ban Russian tourist visas. It would be “inappropriate for Russian tourists to stroll in our cities, on our marinas,” a senior E.U. official involved in the talks said. “We have to send a signal to the Russian population that this war is not OK, it is not acceptable.”
Why punish civilians for their government’s wrong?
The proposal for a complete travel ban is coming after a plea to that effect from the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It is, however, in doubt if the move will come through, as the E.U is not completely in support of it. On Monday, E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who chairs the E.U. foreign ministers’ meetings, played down the prospects for implementing the complete travel ban, and he is not alone as Germany, Cyprus, and Greece have also expressed opposition to the move.
All or Nothing
Forbidding all Russians from entering the E.U. “is not a good idea,” Borrell said, adding, “We have to be more selective.” Despite Zelenskyy’s plea and support from Finland, Czech and others, the foreign ministers would need to reach a unanimous agreement to implement a ban. But in the absence of a unanimous agreement, they are expected to back suspending a visa facilitation agreement with Moscow, which would make the visa application process significantly more difficult and expensive for Russians.