Representational image. Reuters
The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused Brussels of trying to create a new “iron curtain” in Europe by imposing sanctions on ordinary Russian travelers to the EU. In a statement released on Monday, the ministry expressed concerns over measures such as banning direct flights and tightening the visa policy, which it said are aimed at making it extremely difficult for regular Russians to travel to the European Union.
The ministry said that “the ban on direct flights, the strengthening of visa policy and now the ‘clarification’ of sanctions are specifically aimed at harming ordinary Russians by making it essentially impossible for them to enter the European Union.”
“It is now abundantly clear that current European leaders intend to lower the ‘Iron Curtain’ by significantly limiting the ability of citizens to communicate with each other.”
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They also warned that EU member states could not escape responsibility and would still be held responsible for any mistreatment of Russian nationals. Moscow has urged its citizens to carefully assess risks when planning visits to “hostile” countries.
The European Commission recently confirmed that the confiscation of cars and personal items brought by Russian nationals was in line with sanctions imposed on Moscow since 2014, and these sanctions were expanded following the Russian military operation in Ukraine, launched in February 2022. The EU said these restrictions, which also affect tourists and people coming from Russia, aim to significantly weaken Russia’s economic foundations.
Several EU countries have committed to rigorously implementing these new sanctions. Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said: “This means that no private cars registered in Russia will be allowed to enter Polish territory. »
Moscow has criticized the restrictions as discriminatory and “racist”, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying there is “simply no justification” for the seizure of ordinary citizens’ property.
The term “Iron Curtain”, originally coined by Winston Churchill, was used to describe the policies of the Soviet Union and its European allies, which severely limited the movement of their citizens to the West.