The Kremlin on Tuesday (9 August) dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for a Western travel ban on all Russians as irrational, saying that Europe would ultimately have to decide if it wanted to pay the bills for Zelenskyy’s “whims.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Zelenskyy called on Western leaders to stop allowing Russians to travel to their countries as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops into Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no chance Russians could be isolated from the rest of the world, and questioned if Europe should continue supporting Zelenskyy.
“The irrationality of his thinking in this case is off the scale,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
“This can only be seen extremely negatively. Any attempt to isolate Russia or Russians is a process that has no prospects.”
Sooner or later Europe will “start wondering whether Zelenskyy is doing everything right, and whether its citizens should pay for his whims,” Peskov added.
Zelenskyy was quoted by the Post as saying that Russians should be forced to “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
“Whichever kind of Russian … make them go to Russia,” Zelenskyy was quoted as saying by the Post.
“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.”
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas twitted on Tuesday, in a gesture of obvious support to Zelenskyy, calling on the Schengen countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russians.
“Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right. Air traffic with Russia is closed. While Schengen countries issue visas, Russia’s neighbours bear the burden. It’s time to stop tourism from Russia”, she wrote.
Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting #Europe is a privilege, not a human right. 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
— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) August 9, 2022
(With additional reporting by Georgi Gotev)