NATO member Latvia, which borders Russia, said shortly after the partial mobilization announced by the Russian president that no Russians leaving their country would be offered asylum or sanctuary. The decision was based on safety considerations.
“For security reasons, Latvia will not issue humanitarian or other types of visas to Russian citizens who evade mobilization,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs wrote on Twitter.
Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen also said that the situation in neighboring Russia is being closely monitored and that visa policies for Russian citizens may be tightened.
“As for Finland’s surroundings, I can say that the military situation is stable and calm,” Kaikkonen said. “Our defense forces are well prepared and the situation is being closely monitored.”
In a televised address on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of his own armed forces and warned Western states that Russia would use all available means to protect the country’s territorial integrity, including the areas claimed by Ukraine.
The Council of the European Union on September 9 adopted a proposal to completely suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, which had been in force since 2007. This made applying for a Schengen visa more expensive and difficult for Russian citizens.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland agreed that this was not enough and earlier this week further restricted entry for people from Russia. Russian citizens with a Schengen visa for tourist stays, business trips, sporting and cultural events have not been allowed to enter the four EU and NATO countries since Monday – regardless of which member state issued the visa.
However, certain exceptions have so far applied to Russians who are resident, have a right of residence or have relatives in the destination country, as well as for humanitarian reasons.
Finland wrote to the European Commission on Tuesday asking for a joint recommendation for all Schengen member states to cancel visas for Russian citizens. “Finland is asking for a recommendation that Schengen countries, while preventing entry of Russian nationals at their borders, simultaneously either invalidate or revoke the person’s visa or impose an entry ban on them, as is customary in Schengen countries ” said a press release from the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about the SchengenVisaInfo.com reported.
According to the communication, Finnish authorities have in their letter requested the Commission to authorize member states to either cancel visas of Russian citizens refused at one of the Schengen borders or to include them in the Schengen Information System (SIS) as prohibited persons.
more on the subject – Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia no longer let Russians with Schengen visas across the border