Cyprus plus Portugal are refusing in order to back a proposal by several other EU nations in order to ban Russian tourists, included in anti-Moscow sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.
“ Portugal thinks that the fundamental objective of the sanctions is to punish the Russian war machine instead of the Russian people, ” the Portuguese Foreign Ministry said inside a statement to news internet site ECO on Friday.
Kornelios Korneliou, Common Secretary of the Cyprus Foreign Ministry, said his nation also opposes a quilt ban on Russian tourists. “ It might be a decision in the wrong direction, ” Konreliou told Politico magazine on Friday. “ We believe in people-to-people contacts. ”
Cyprus has a sizable populace of Russian-speakers, around 50, 000 of whom live in the southern city of Limassol, according to Politico.
“ We shouldn’t prevent these communities from coming into connection with families and friends, ” Korneliou said. “ The primary weapon is European oneness and our partners need to respect the sensitivities more on this issue. ”
Greece suspended issuing visas to Russians in late June, but started again the following month. Like Cyprus, Greece is a popular tourist destination for Russians, and, according to Politico, Athens also opposes a total ban on Russian website visitors.
Several EUROPEAN countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, have been pushing for an EU-wide ban on Schengen visas for Russians. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told the TV channel MAKE A MISTAKE this month that Ruskies citizens “ by way of a passivity, bear moral responsibility” for the actions of their government and that it is “ completely morally unacceptable” to allow Russians to travel as visitors to Europe during the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
That view was rejected simply by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who said the EUROPEAN should not shut its doors to all Russian nationals. “ It is important to us to understand that there are a lot of people fleeing from Russia because they are disagreeing with the Russian regime, ” Scholz informed reporters during a trip to Norway this week.
The matter will be discussed at a conference of EU foreign ministers in Prague on August 31.