EU’s Borrell says visa ban for Russians would lack support

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Foreign policy chief says he favours being more “selective” about granting visas to Russians.

European Union foreign ministers are unlikely to unanimously back a ban on visas for all Russians when they meet later this week, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

“I don’t think that to cut the relationship with the Russian civilian population will help and I don’t think that this idea will have the required unanimity,” Borrell, who chairs EU foreign ministers’ meetings, told Austria’s ORF TV on Sunday.

“I think that we have to review the way that some Russians get a visa, certainly the oligarchs not. We have to be more selective. But I am not in favour of stopping delivering visas to all Russians.”

The foreign ministers would need to reach unanimous agreement to implement a ban, which would be the bloc’s latest action intended to publish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Instead, they are expected to back suspending a visa facilitation agreement with Moscow when they meet on Tuesday in Prague.

The move would make it significantly more difficult and expensive for Russians to travel.

A senior EU official involved in the talks told the Financial Times it would be “inappropriate for Russian tourists to stroll in our cities, on our marinas”.

“We have to send a signal to the Russian population that this war is not OK, it is not acceptable,” the official said, according to the newspaper.

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