The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow reserves the right to take measures in response to the European Union’s decision to completely suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia.
The Kremlin also warned that any restrictions on entry visas to European countries would be met with adverse measures by Russia.
“We are monitoring the situation closely because it concerns our citizens. If any further package of unfriendly steps are issued against our citizens, we will be forced to respond,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in statements on Wednesday.
“Their citizens will face difficulties when they get here as well, and therefore another episode of this blatant anti-Russian campaign will take place,” he was quoted by TASS news agency as saying.
And the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced yesterday that the foreign ministers of the member states agreed – during a two-day meeting in Prague – to “the complete suspension of the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Russia.”
“This will significantly reduce the number of new visas issued by EU member states. It will be more difficult (for Russians) and it will take longer,” he added.
Diplomats said that EU ministers had not yet been able to agree on a comprehensive visa ban for Russian citizens, because member states were divided on the issue.
The EU foreign policy official stated that the recent period, specifically since mid-July last, witnessed a significant increase in the number of travelers crossing the borders from Russia to neighboring countries.
“This has become a security risk for countries bordering Russia. In addition, we saw many Russians traveling for entertainment and shopping, as if there was no war in Ukraine,” Borrell added.