Estonia decided at this week's cabinet meeting to officially propose to the European Commission to impose the eighth sanctions package against Russia. Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) noted that it's crucial to expedite the adoption of the next sanctions package and continue raising the cost of Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine.
In the eighth sanctions package, Estonia wants to see the expansion of economic, energy and trade sanctions, as well as further individuals and entities added to the sanctions blacklist. Estonia also wants to see a considerable expansion of sanctions on Russian citizens' travel, according to a press release.
Reinsalu emphasized that Estonia is working toward a consensus throughout the Schengen area to impose additional sanctions on Russian citizens as Estonia already has.
"As foreign ministers, I call on other European governments to introduce additional domestic sanctions to stop the travel of nationals of the aggressor state Russia and work together toward closing the Schengen area to Russian citizens," the foreign minister said.
He noted that it's crucial to expedite the adoption of the next sanctions package to make the restrictive measures imposed on Russia more severe and efficient, as well as to systematically work to continue raising the cost of aggression for Russia.
Since Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine in February, Estonia and the EU have imposed increasing numbers of sanctions against Russia. Thus far, seven sanctions packages have been introduced aimed at paralyzing Russia's economy and making it impossible for it to finance Russia's war in Ukraine, the ministry said.
Beginning Thursday, August 18, Russian citizens holding a Schengen visa issued by Estonia for tourism, business, sports or culture are no longer able to enter the country.
The Schengen area currently includes 22 of 27 EU member states — Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden — as well as non-EU states Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The European microstates of Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City are likewise de facto members as they maintain open borders for passenger traffic with their neighbors France and Italy.
Editor: Aili Vahtla