EU Ministers Split on Russian Visa Ban

The EU is also considering a training mission for Ukrainian troops

EU ministers gathered in Prague on Tuesday as some of the bloc’s members are calling to ban all Russian tourists, an action Ukraine wants Europe to take.

But the EU is divided on the issue, with France and Germany against the move, while some Eastern European countries and the Baltic states are in favor of banning Russian travelers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier in August that the “whole population” of Russia was responsible for Vladimir Putin’s war and that Western countries should punish them by banning all Russian travelers.

The EU is expected to tighten restrictions on Russian visas by making them more expensive and harder to get, but Josep Borrel, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said an agreement on a full ban is not likely.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock argued that the ban shouldn’t be implemented so Russians that are against the war could leave the country. “We should not punish those who have the courage to stand up against this regime,” she said.

The Baltic states are pushing hard for a visa ban, and Estonia has already implemented a policy that revoked visas from 50,000 Russians. Announcing the plan, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu echoed Zelensky’s view that all Russians are responsible for the war.

“We have to admit that Russian society, by and large, also bears passive moral responsibility for these atrocities, which takes place on Ukrainian soil,” Reinsalu said.

Most of Europe has banned Russian flights from entering their airspace, so countries that border Russia, like Estonia and Finland, have complained that Russians are entering their territory to fly elsewhere on the continent.

The EU ministers on Tuesday also discussed the idea of starting a training mission for Ukrainian troops. The US, Britain, and many EU members are already training Ukrainians in Europe, but the potential plan would be for a training mission conducted under the auspice of the EU.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.