Estonia still issuing special visas to Russian citizens

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Border town Ivangorod.
Border town Ivangorod. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

While Latvia stopped issuing all types of visas to Russian citizens, including on humanitarian grounds, on June 26, the Estonian Foreign Ministry is not planning to follow suit. Latvia's decision followed the Wagner rebellion in Russia.

"Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland stopped issuing Russian citizens visas on normal grounds last year. The remaining exceptions are humanitarian visas and visas for family members, and we have taken additional measures to secure the border," Anna Tisler-Lavrentjev, media adviser for the Estonian MFA, said when asked whether Estonia also plans to stop issuing humanitarian visas.

"The Foreign Ministry's information suggests that Latvia's decision to stop issuing visas based on humanitarian considerations is a temporary decision to be reevaluated based on developments in Russia," she added.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry said on June 26 that it will temporarily stop issuing all types of visas to Russian citizens, the country's public broadcaster LSM reported.

Russian mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin on Friday evening accused Russian armed forces of attacking Wagner rear units which then entered Rostov-on-Don in Russia Saturday. Russian authorities interpreted these actions as a call for a military coup and stepped up the readiness of internal military forces. Prigozhin claimed to control key buildings and the airport in Rostov-on-Don and Wagner forces made steady progress toward Moscow before a deal was mediated by Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko that saw Prigozhin and his troops stand down and the former move to Belarus.

Latvia decided to ramp up border control measures in the face of the rebellion and is coordinating relevant actions with Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

The Latvian cabinet took a decision June 27 that extends the period of restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens into Latvia well into next year.

"Current restrictions on the entry of Russian citizens remain in place. The following categories of Russian citizens will be permitted to enter Latvia by crossing its external border: the holders of a residence permit of a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area or of the Swiss Confederation; the holders of a long-stay visa of a Schengen Agreement member state; the holders of a short-stay visa of a Schengen Agreement member state who are family members of the nationals of the Republic of Latvia, the European Union, a European Economic Area member state, or the Swiss Confederation; persons whose entry is related to humanitarian considerations; employees of freight and passenger transport service providers, and others," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

No new visas will be issued on any grounds however.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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