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Moscow impose visa restrictions on the West 

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Russia is introducing new visa restrictions for citizens of “unfriendly states” as a response to international sanctions imposed on Moscow due to its ongoing military actions in Ukraine. 

On Monday while addressing members of the United Russia Party, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that a presidential decree “on retaliatory visa measures in connection with the ‘unfriendly’ actions of a number of foreign states” was being formulated. Lavrov also said that “this act will introduce a number of restrictions on entry into the territory of Russia”.

Simultaneously the procedure for migration to Russia for people without formal citizenship and for those who ended up on the territory of Ukraine has been simplified.  This was formulated “in order to prevent a threat to the life and health” of these people and also so they could safely return to their home countries. Last week Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki encouraged a halt to the issuing of visas for Russian citizens, as a form of increased sanctions against Moscow. 

He also said that “another suggestion is to freeze visas for all Russians,” explaining that he believed this would make Russians more aware of the situation in Ukraine. Previously Belgium had also voiced similar proposals. 

Japan has frozen their issuance of visas to certain Russians, while European countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, Norway, and the Czech Republic have halted their issuance of visas to all Russian citizens. On top of this Prague and Oslo has stopped issuing residence permits to Russian nationals. 

In the wake of unprecedented sanctions in March, Moscow significantly increased its list of “unfriendly states” from the U.S. and Czech Republic, to now include all the EU members, Ukraine, the UK, Canada, Japan, and others. All of these counties are subject to retaliations measures, including restrictions as well as specific requirements from Russia.

Vladimir Putin recently ordered that all natural gas payments for “unfriendly states” must be switched from U.S. dollars to Russian rubles, although the G7 summit opposed the move. 

One other “retaliation” initiative saw the Finance Ministry requesting all Russian companies wishing to work with firms who’s country of origin is on the list, must first receive government permission.

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