European Union ambassadors agreed on October 12 on a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia, a statement by the Council of the EU said.
“This decision is a response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s practice of issuing Russian international passports to residents of the occupied regions. It also follows Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008,” the statement said.
Russian travel documents issued in, or to persons resident in, Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia will not be accepted as valid travel documents for obtaining a visa or crossing the borders of the Schengen zone.
Russian travel documents issued in these regions are already not recognised, or in the process of not being recognised, by EU member states.
This decision aims to set out a common approach, ensure the proper functioning of the external border and common visa policies and safeguard the security of EU member states, the statement said.
Czech Republic Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said: “With its illegal annexation of Ukrainian regions Russia has once again shown its blatant disregard for the rules-based international order.
“We will never recognise the violation of Ukraine and Georgia’s fundamental rights to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU stands united and resolutely with both countries and their people,” Rakušan said.
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