President Gitanas Nausėda argues that the consequences of the Russian-led war in Ukraine must be felt not only by the country’s leader, Vladimir Putin, and therefore fully supports the proposal to ban the issuance of tourist visas to citizens of the aggressor country, Agnė Liubertaitė writing at lrytas.lt news portal.
“I would support all measures, including this one, which would clarify where the aggressor stands. Today we are still trying to deceive ourselves that this is Putin’s war and that the Russian people have nothing to do with it. Unfortunately, this is not the case,” Nausėda said on August 24 during Ukraine’s Independence Day.
He said that the Russian people are so far supporting this war, which must be met with an appropriate response.
“Yes, there are various reasons for this, and perhaps if 20 or 30 years of brainwashing, I can’t call it anything else, intoxicating people with strange imperial ideas and visions, and eventually adopting some of those ideas, today, it seems to me, the Russian people are just a little bit stupid from this totalitarianism and aggressiveness.
This means only one thing: Russia must feel the consequences of this war. Not just Putin, but all of Russia, because this is, unfortunately, Russia’s war. The sooner we conclude and stop deluding ourselves that this is a war between a handful of evil uncles, the easier it will be for us to make decisions.
That is why I support the idea of restricting tourist visas for Russian citizens because it is hard to comprehend how innocent blood is being spilt in Ukraine at the moment. Unfortunately, many people in Russia think that this is the right thing to do, and at the same time, tourists are having a good time in European resorts. This should not be the case”, the Head of State said.
According to Nausėda, reaching a unanimous decision on tourist visas will be difficult, but he recalled that Ukraine’s EU candidate status was not easy for Ukraine either.
“Anything is possible if you have a very clear goal and make every effort to achieve it. If we cannot reach a common solution in the short term, we will certainly think about a regional format, but it must be as broad as possible.
If it is just the Baltic States, it will be a limited measure and probably not very likely to scare the aggressor away”, the President explained.
Following the invasion of Ukraine by Kremlin forces, Lithuania was one of the first EU countries to restrict the issuance of new Schengen and national visas to Russian citizens.
Tallinn has gone even further and is not allowing Russian tourists with Estonian Schengen visas to enter the country. However, according to the head of Lithuanian diplomacy, G. Landsbergis, this ban does not cover our Russian tourists, but only a few thousand people.
The Czech Republic, which currently holds the EU presidency, has suggested that a visa ban on all Russian citizens could complement the Community’s sanctions against Moscow.
However, Berlin disagrees. According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the invasion of Ukraine “is not a war of the Russian people, it is a war of Putin”.