Ukraine demands a “cold shower” for Russian society

There should be no ‘dolce vita’ for Russians in the West, says Ukrainian PM, insisting on visa ban

Russians should not be allowed to enter the EU as long as their country is fighting Ukraine, Kyiv Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said on Friday.

Earlier this week, the bloc suspended an agreement with Moscow that previously allowed Russians to receive visas for travel to the Schengen area under a simplified procedure, under sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict. However, Brussels has refrained from introducing a total visa ban, despite calls from some member states, including Finland and Estonia.

Shmygal told German news agency DPA that he believed tougher measures should be implemented against Russian travellers.

“Unfortunately, it’s not just Putin’s war”, he said, citing polls that show broad public support in Russia for the military offensive in Ukraine. “It is impossible to divide Russians into good and bad” he added.

He is “insupportable” for the kyiv government that as long as the conflict continues, some Russians can “make a good life in the West, go on vacation, live the dolce vita”, insisted the prime minister.

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“There should be a cold shower for Russian society in the form of a visa ban for tourists and students,” Shmygal added.

Similar calls have been made by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, who told the Washington Post last month that he wants Russians to be locked out of the West for at least a year. They should “to live in his own world until he changes his philosophy”, he said.

Moscow earlier said the idea of ​​a visa ban was “Russophobic” and resembled Nazi Germany’s policies in the mid-20th century.

Russia sent troops to Ukraine in late February, citing kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk Accords, intended to give Donetsk and Luhansk regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that kyiv’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to save time and “to create powerful armed forces.”

READ MORE: EU calls for banning Russians from recalling ‘Nazi policies’ – Moscow

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbas republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was unprovoked.


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