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Passport rules for Russians should be tightened by EU: Czechia

Passport rules for Russians should be tightened by EU: Czechia

The Czech Republic offered its European Union partners to tighten the passport rules for all Russian visitors. The bloc will have to allow entry into the border control-free Schengen area to Russians who hold biometric passports only.

Czech Interior Minister Vita Rakusan said on Wednesday that the EU bloc should update its rules regarding Russians.

“We will call on our European colleagues… to require Russian citizens (to hold) biometric passports for entering the Schengen area so we have clear certainty that the person entering with the passport really is that person,” Rakusan said.

Most of the bloc is part of the Schengen zone, Reuters quoted Rakusan who promised he would also work with the foreign ministry on possible tightening visa issuance rules for Russians. For example, special visas will be created for people persecuted in Russia for being associated with the Russian opposition, the official said.

These measures are forced, the interior minister said, and are part of a response to the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine.

Over the decades, Czechia remains not only the EU and NATO member but home to a 260,000-strong Ukrainian community. Over the recent months, the country has been preparing for a potential influx of refugees from Ukraine but for the time being there have not been any signs of increased interest in any type of residency permits, minister Rakusan said.