The presidency of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in temporarily occupied territories in Ukraine and Georgia.
That’s according to a press release published on the website of the European Council, Ukrinform reports.
“The agreed text is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament before going through the formal adoption procedure,” the statement reads.
This decision is a response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and Russia’s practice of issuing Russian international passports to residents of the occupied regions. It also follows Russia’s unilateral decision to recognize the independence of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in 2008.
Russian travel documents issued in, or to persons resident in, Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine or breakaway territories in Georgia will not be accepted as valid travel documents for obtaining a visa or crossing the borders of the Schengen area.
According to the statement, Russian travel documents issued in these regions are already not recognized, or in the process of not being recognized, by EU member states. This decision aims to set out a common approach, ensure the proper functioning of the external border and common visa policies and safeguard the security of EU member states.
Earlier reports said that the Kremlin is attempting to declare residents of temporarily occupied territories, including the territories of Ukraine and Georgia, which are currently outside the control of national governments, as Russian citizens, forcing residents of such regions to obtain Russian passports. The invaders then use this practice to continue aggressive actions in the mentioned territories under the pretext of “protecting Russian citizens.”