Russia to restrict visas for citizens from “unfriendly countries”

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Russia is poised to impose retaliatory visa measures on citizens from “unfriendly countries” seeking entry, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

Lavrov spoke of the visa restrictions for citizens of countries that are listed as “unfriendly” by Russia while speaking with the United Russia party in Moscow.

“A draft of (a presidential) decree on visa measures in retaliation for unfriendly actions by a number of foreign countries is currently being prepared,” Lavrov said during a meeting with the United Russia party members, Reuters reported.

Lavrov said the move will introduce a number of restrictions on entry into Russia.

“I believe that this step will expand the tools to influence various categories of foreign citizens. First of all, against those who are involved in crimes against Russian citizens abroad,” Lavrov said. “Second, those who unjustly commit legal persecution against our people. And finally, those who make unreasonable decisions that violate the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and organizations of the Russian Federation,” the official explained.

Lavrov said the US and its allies “directly” declared “a total hybrid war.”

“The West does not hide the purpose of this confrontation, to destroy the Russian economy, undermine domestic political stability and, ultimately, significantly weaken Russia, push us to the sidelines of international life,” Lavrov added.

Russia announced on March 8 a list of unfriendly countries and territories, which includes the US as well as Canada, all member countries of the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Japan, and Australia, among others.

A day prior, the Russian government issued a list of countries “taking unfriendly actions against Russia, Russian companies, and citizens,” referring to the economic sanctions introduced amid Russia’s war on Ukraine.