Kyiv Calls On West To Implement Russia Travel Ban – As the West runs out of new ideas for sanctions against Russia, Kyiv is now urging NATO countries to implement a sweeping travel ban on all Russians.
During an interview with the Washington Post, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy floated the idea which has received some support from European countries.
“The most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land,” Zelenskyy told the news outlet. The Ukrainian leader added that the Russian people should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
While a blanket travel ban would punish millions of people who are not necessarily responsible for the war in Ukraine, that’s precisely the point of these sanctions. Not only are Western countries putting pressure on the Russian government, but sanctions and travel bans are designed to impact the lives of so many Russian people that the government experiences sufficient pressure from the Russian people to end the conflict in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy was not shy about his intent to punish Russian citizens in the interview, however.
“They’ll say, ‘This [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can. The population picked this government and they’re not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it,” Zelenskyy said.
Kremlin Slams Idea As “Off the Charts”
The Kremlin did not respond well to the suggestion and immediately urged European countries not to take the recommendation seriously.
“The irrationality of thinking in this case is off the charts,” chief Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday. “Any attempt to isolate Russians or Russia is a process that has no prospects.”
Russia has reason to be concerned about the idea, too. Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated assurances that his country could overcome the “reckless” sanctions levied against it by the West, the evidence points to a severely weakened economy struggling to remedy broken supply chains.
Neighboring Finland also announced a plan last week that would limit the number of tourist visas granted to Russians. The Finnish government also pushed for a decision to be made by the European Union on a more comprehensive and unified plan for restricting Russian travel, a move that would further isolate Russia from the West.
Writing on Twitter, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also insisted that it was time to “end tourism from Russia” to Europe entirely.
“Air travel from RU is shut down. It means while Schengen countries issue visas, neighbours to Russia carry the burden (FI, EE, LV – sole access points). Time to end tourism from Russia now.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.