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Estonian MFA announces an entry ban for Russians with Estonian visas

Source: Meduza

Estonia will prohibit Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued by Estonia from entering the country. The decision was announced by Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu.

According to Reinsalu, the rule will come into effect next week. The rule will not affect close relatives of Estonian citizens, Estonian residence permit holders, diplomats and their families, or employees of transport companies.

As of now, the rule will not affect those who have Schengen visas issued by other countries. However, Reinsalu noted that the government is looking into the possibility of banning them as well.

Reinsalu's statement does not make clear whether entry will be prohibited only directly from Russia, or from other Schengen countries too. Current Schengen regulations require all states to ensure free movement within the community for all people with valid visas issued by any of the countries.

Estonia stopped issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens in the spring, shortly after the start of the war in Ukraine. Currently, visas are issued only to relatives of Estonian residents, or for humanitarian reasons.

The Estonian Foreign Ministry has already suggested discussing a total ban on issuing visas to Russians at the EU level. The issue is expected to be discussed at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague in late August. The European Commission has stated that the current norms of the Schengen Agreement do not provide for such options, and called the discussion "very hypothetical."