Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky first pushed for the visa ban, saying in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this month that Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
Zelensky made another call a few weeks ago for EU countries to ban visas for Russian citizens, in order to prevent the bloc from becoming a “supermarket” open to anyone who can enter.
A State Department spokeswoman said the Biden administration had already imposed visa restrictions on Kremlin officials, but made clear the focus was on identifying and holding accountable those involved in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The United States does not intend to close avenues of asylum and protection for Russian dissidents or others who may be victims of human rights abuses,” a State Department spokesman said.
“We also make clear that it is important to draw a line between the actions of the Russian government and its policies in Ukraine and the people of Russia,” the spokesman added.
Some EU leaders, including Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her Estonian counterpart, Kaja Kallas, have called for an EU-wide visa ban. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposed this on Monday, saying Russians should be allowed to leave their country if they disagree with the regime.
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