Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu wants the EU to ban Russian tourists because he believes all Russians bear a “moral responsibility” for President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.
“We are letting the citizens of an aggressor state peacefully visit the Louvre … and return to [their] homeland as if nothing has happened,” Reinsalu told Politico.
Last week, Estonia banned a type of short-stay visa for Russians, which revoked more than 50,000 visas. The ban came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the “whole population” of Russia was responsible for the war in Ukraine and Demanded that Western countries ban all Russian travelers.
But Zelensky and Estonia’s view is not shared across Europe. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said last week that Berlin would not support a ban on Russian travelers, arguing that the conflict in Ukraine is “not the war of Russian citizens.”
The US has also rejected Zelensky’s demand to ban Russian travelers. A State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Monday that the US has already banned the visas of high-level Russian officials and said they want to leave pathways to “dissidents” that want to leave Russia open.
The spokesperson also said that the US wants to “draw a line between the actions of the Russian government and its policies in Ukraine, and the people of Russia,” although ordinary citizens in Russia are the ones feeling the economic pain of the US-led Western sanctions campaign.