Portugal against banning Russians from entering EU: Ministry
Portugal claims it believes anti-Russian sanctions should not be used to punish the Russian people.
Portugal is against an EU entry ban for Russian tourists but will still participate in the discussion on the issue on August 31, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the ECO (Economia Online) publication on Friday.
In a statement to ECO, the Foreign Ministry representative claimed that "Portugal believes that the main goal of the sanctions regime must be to punish the Russian war machine, and not the Russian people."
"Portugal will participate in the discussion on the subject that may eventually take place, at the European level, on the subject, contributing to the development of a common stance among EU member states," the representative added.
In recent weeks, some EU countries, including the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, and the Netherlands have limited the issuance of Schengen visas to Russian citizens.
Calls have been mounting for the European Commission to ban Russian tourists from entering the EU’s borderless area over the war in Ukraine.
France and Germany have so far refused to back Baltic and some central European states on their initiative citing the freedom of travel principle.
The issue will be on the agenda of the upcoming informal EU ministerial meeting that will take place in Prague on August 30-31.
Kremlin: Kiev calls to ban Russians 'off the charts'
On August 9, the Kremlin said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's proposal to ban all Russians from visiting Western countries was "out of the charts" and viewed "extremely negatively" by Moscow.
The Kremlin's remarks came after Zelenzky told The Washington Post that current Western sanctions against Moscow are too weak and that the West should close its borders to Russians.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said "the irrationality of thinking, in this case, is off the charts," adding that "this can only be viewed extremely negatively."
"Any attempt to isolate Russians or Russia is a process that has no prospects," Peskov considered.
The spokesperson recalled events in the run-up to and during World War II, saying that "in their unfriendliness, many of these countries slip into forgetfulness."
"And they resort to statements that we heard from several European countries in the center of Europe 80 years ago," Peskov indicated.
Zelensky told the Post that "irrespective of their political stance, Russians should live in their own world until they change their philosophy."
Two weeks ago, Russia's neighbor Finland announced a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians but also emphasized the importance of an EU-level decision on the issue.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas had also called on all members of the Schengen zone to stop issuing visas for Russians, saying it was "time to end Russian tourism."
"Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right," she tweeted.
Read more: Zelensky military adviser disagrees on total ban for Russian visas