Latvian PM calls on EU to end all tourist visas for Russians

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Latvia’s prime minister, Krisjanis Karins, has called on EU leaders to stop all tourist visas for Russians, reigniting the debate about further tightening sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Speaking to the Guardian, Karins rejected the idea that allowing Russians seeking to evade the draft to enter the EU would be a way to weaken the Kremlin’s armed forces.

 He said it was understandable that many men would not wish “to go and fight and likely die in Ukraine” and this could trigger a “potential huge immigration wave coming from Russia”, but contended that posed a security risk to Europe. “I think the political dissenters have mostly already left. Then there will be economic opportunists, many, many other reasons and people with unknown loyalties.”

Latvia, along with Poland, its two Baltic neighbours and Finland, has closed to Russian tourists and has been urging the rest of the EU to do the same – so far without success.

Photo Latvia’s prime minister, Krisjanis Karins: Latvian State Office

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