Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia on September 7 announced plans to restrict entry to Russian visa-holders, limiting access to the European Union’s Schengen open border area.
Poland followed suit on September 8, with the government citing “internal security” as well as “overall security of our common Schengen area” as the war in Ukraine continues, according to a Reuters report.
Foreign ministers from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia said the proposal will allow for exceptions, such as humanitarian and family reasons, lorry drivers and diplomats.
While presenting the draft resolution to cabinet, Lithuania’s interior minister Agnė Bilotaitė described the proposal as “a new emergency measure” as the country plans to extend a state of emergency along its borders with Russia and Belarus by three months until December 16, 2022.
According to Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT, the proposal dictates the State Border Guard Service (VSAT) will ensure only Russian citizens who meet certain criteria set by the government, and in consultation with Latvia and Estonia, will be allowed to cross the border.
Russian airlines have already been prohibited from using EU airspace since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.