“Don’t block the way for critical voices”
Austria against blanket visa stop for Russians
Before the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague, Austria reiterated its opposition to entry bans for Russian tourists. “We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
“We must not throw the baby out with the bath water,” Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg told the “Welt” on Tuesday. (archive image)
“A blanket ban on visas for Russian nationals would completely cut off the last contacts with Russian civil society,” said Schallenberg of the “Welt” on Tuesday. “It would be absurd to block the way to the West for critical voices in Russia right now.”
The Kremlin’s news embargo is obscuring the Russian population’s view of the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, the minister said. “A visa stop would also be counterproductive in the fight against the Russian propaganda machine. If we block the Russian population’s door to Europe across the board, that would only fuel the wagon camp mentality propagated by the Kremlin.”
The foreign and defense ministers of the European Union will be meeting in Prague on Tuesday to discuss further support for Ukraine. On the table is a proposal by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell for a joint military training mission for Ukraine.
The European foreign ministers are also dealing with the demand from Ukraine and eastern EU countries for a general visa freeze for Russian tourists. On Monday in Prague, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz again warned against holding all Russians liable for the war