Czech Republic Bans Entry to Russian Tourists Starting October 25

As of Tuesday, 25 October, Russian citizens with a valid Schengen visa issued by any EU Member State travelling for tourism, sport or cultural purposes will be denied entry to the Czech Republic.

This was approved by the government at its meeting on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates) announced at a press conference.

According to the ministry’s data, up to 200 Russian citizens arrive in the Czech Republic via the international airport every day.

The Czech Republic thus joins the Baltic States, Poland and Finland, which closed their borders to Russian tourists in the previous weeks.

The Baltic countries been urging the rest of the EU to do the same – so far without success. France and Germany are reluctant to end tourist visas, fearing it would block the exit of Russians who oppose Putin’s regime.

The European Commission last month issued guidance calling for tighter security checks when issuing visas to Russians.

The Czech Republic was the first EU member state to suspend the issuance of visas to Russian citizens across the board, the day after the invasion of Ukraine, on 25 February.

The ban is still in place, and the Czech Republic later also imposed it on Belarusian citizens, in both cases except in humanitarian cases.

“Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” said Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.

Barring all Russians would also impact the tens of thousands of people who have left that country out of protest or disagreement with the actions of Putin and his administration.

“They’ll understand then,” the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy told The Washington Post. “They’ll say, ‘This [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can. The population picked this government and they’re not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it.”

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