Kremlin says Kyiv call to ban Russians 'off the charts'

AFP , Tuesday 9 Aug 2022

The Kremlin on Tuesday said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's proposal to ban all Russians from Western countries was "off the charts" and viewed "extremely negatively" by Moscow.

Dmitry Peskov
File Photo: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. AFP


The Ukrainian leader told The Washington Post that current Western sanctions against Moscow were too weak, adding the West should close its borders against Russians.

"The irrationality of thinking in this case is off the charts," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"This can only be viewed extremely negatively.

"Any attempt to isolate Russians or Russia is a process that has no prospects," Peskov added.

Irrespective of their political stance, Russians should "live in their own world until they change their philosophy," Zelensky told the Post.

His remarks stand in stark contrast to the first days of Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine when Zelensky reached out to Russia-based Kremlin critics, in Russian.

Russia's neighbour Finland last week issued a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians but also emphasised the need for an EU-level decision on the matter.

On Tuesday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said it was "time to end tourism from Russia".

"Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right," she tweeted.

The French defence ministry told AFP on Monday that Russian nationals cannot visit the Chateau de Vincennes in Paris, a major tourist attraction.

But on Tuesday, after media coverage and comment, the French ministry contacted AFP to say the castle guards had "indiscriminately applied a rule established in February concerning all military installations".

"This rule cannot be applied in the same way for strategic sites and for sites accessible to the public, such as museums," a spokesman said.

The ministry said security staff would now be informed of the distinction "to avoid any further incidents of this kind".

Asked about proposed and actual restrictions for Russian citizens in Europe, Peskov alluded to events in the run-up to and during World War II.

"In their unfriendliness, many of these countries slip into forgetfulness," he said.

"And they resort to statements that we heard from several European countries in the centre of Europe 80 years ago."

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev accused the Estonian prime minister of making "Nazi" statements, but then went on social media to quote an old Soviet saying, telling her: "The fact that you are free is not your achievement but our oversight."

Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine has killed thousands, forced millions to flee their homes and exacerbated food shortages across the world.

Short link: