In connection with mobilization announced in the Russian Federation The European Union expects an influx of Russians who do not want to be sent to the front in Ukraine and for that reason leave the country. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement was made just days after Brussels abolished the simplified visa regime for Russian citizens. What can Russian citizens fleeing mobilization expect against the backdrop of the new EU sanctions policy?
For people seeking international protection in the form of asylum, EU law guarantees this right. This position is in line with the rules and values of the European Union, the European Commission confirms, because even after the abolition of the simplified procedure for issuing Schengen visas to Russians, Brussels promised to make exceptions in humanitarian cases and for dissidents.
However, not everything is so simple, because the priority of the EU authorities is the security of the union and its Member States, and Russia is a state waging a war that is destabilizing not only Europe, but the whole world. “That’s why we have suspended visa facilitation for the Russians and has adopted specific recommendations regarding them. And we are working with Member States to develop a common approach,” explains Anitta Hipper, spokeswoman for the European Commission on Home Affairs and Migration.
The management of the EU’s external borders must be carried out in accordance with its legislation, including respect for human rights and laws on asylum procedures. But at the same time, the Schengen Area Border Code allows the refusal of entry for certain reasons, such as a threat to internal security and public order, even with a visa. When it comes to people without a Schengen visa who enter the EU and apply for international protection, this is analyzed at the borders, the European Commission says.
“This is an unprecedented situation, we are looking at it from a security standpoint, so we also need to consider geopolitical concerns and the associated risks,” Hipper said. Given the current circumstances, EU Member States will look at each case on a case-by-case basis and decide who has sufficient grounds to flee Russia and apply for asylum and who does not.
The European Union is seeking a balance between its own interests and support for Russians who do not want to fight against Ukraine, emphasizes the official representative of the European Union’s foreign service, Peter Stano. “We stand in solidarity with those citizens of Russia who have the courage to show their disagreement with what the regime is doing, especially in the context of this illegal war in Ukraine. We sympathize with Russian families who fear for their sons, brothers, fathers , who are sent to die in a senseless illegal war,” he emphasizes. “We are discussing how best to solve this problem in order to show our solidarity, but at the same time take into account our needs and interests and the security of the EU Member States.”
Brussels understands that in this way “the Russians are voting with their feet against the Putin regime and its actions,” says Stano. However, not all EU member states are ready to ensure their flight from the country. Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, as well as the Czech Republic and Finland do not plan to automatically accept Russians fleeing mobilization.
For example, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said humanitarian or other visas would not be issued to Russians wishing to avoid mobilization for security reasons. “We should not give in to his (Putin’s) blackmail, but support Ukraine as much as possible. Russia today is as dangerous for Europe and world peace as Nazi Germany was in the last century,” the Baltic News Service (BNS) quotes Rinkevics as saying. ).
“Conscription is not enough” to get asylum in Lithuania, Defense Minister Arvydas Anusaukas said. “Political asylum is granted to those who are persecuted for their faith” or for other similar reasons, he told the AP news agency.
Estonian Interior Minister Lauri Laanemec called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “the collective responsibility of Russian citizens” and said admitting those fleeing military service violates EU sanctions against Russia. “Putin’s latest move somehow strengthens sanctions because there is hope for it”growing discontent among the population, – BNS quotes him.
The Czech Republic will also not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens fleeing mobilization, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said. “I understand that Russians are fleeing Putin’s increasingly desperate decisions. But those who flee to disobey the obligations imposed on them by their own government are not eligible for a humanitarian visa,” the minister told Reuters.
The Finnish government is considering closing transit from Russia, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said. “The will of the government is very clear: we believe that Russian tourism should be stopped, as well as transit through Finland,” Marin said, stressing that the situation after Putin’s announcement of mobilization and the resulting influx of people who want to enter the EU should be stopped. to reassess.
Against this background, Germany, on the other hand, will more support for the Russians, announced by the government. “Anyone who courageously opposes the Putin regime and is exposed to great danger as a result can apply for asylum because of political persecution,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Deserts facing severe reprisals can usually receive international protection in Germany,” she said.
“Anyone who hates Putin’s path and loves liberal democracy is welcome in Germany,” Justice Minister Marco Buschmann tweeted using the hashtag “partial mobilization”.
On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the country’s citizens and announced a “partial” mobilization. He referred to the decision of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”, as well as the occupation authorities of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions to hold “referendums” on joining the Russian Federation, and stated that Moscow would do everything in its power to ensure safe conditions for the “referendums”.
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