The European Union has proposed to make it more expensive and harder for Russian citizens to get visas with visa fees to increase from 35 (£30; $34) to €80 (£69; $79) plus a lengthier application process for Russians wanting to enter the EU.
The proposal by the EU will continue as long as Russia wages its war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU Commission said on Tuesday, September 6.
The proposal by the EU comes after EU migration data revealed that more than a million Russians have travelled to EU countries since the invasion of Ukraine in February.
Margaritis Schinas, the EU Commission vice-president, said Russia had “completely undermined” the trust on which the existing EU-Russia visa agreement was based.
Under the proposals, Russian citizens will face:
-Higher fees of €80 rather than €35
-A lengthier application process
-Restrictions on multi-entry visas
-A longer required list of supporting documents.
Separately, the EU Commission is proposing that the member states refuse to recognise Russian passports issued in occupied Ukraine.
“Russians should not have easy access to the European Union and travelling to the EU as a tourist is not a human right,” said EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.
Under the previous EU-Russia visa agreement, Russians had for 15 years enjoyed an easy process for getting EU visas.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted on Tuesday that the visa agreement should be suspended as there “can be no business as usual” with Russia.
The visa move comes after a decision by EU foreign ministers last week to suspend the existing visa agreement with Moscow.
Since the war, some EU countries bordering Russia like Finland had already begun to tighten border controls.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last week admitted that the EU decision would make life more difficult for Russian travellers, calling the proposal “another ridiculous decision in a series of ongoing absurdities”.