BRUSSELS, Belgium – EU ambassadors today agreed a mandate for negotiations with the European parliament on a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia.
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 recognise 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.
“With its illegal annexation of Ukrainian regions Russia has once again shown its blatant disregard for the rules-based international order. We will never recognise the violation of Ukraine and Georgia’s fundamental rights to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU stands united and resolutely with both countries and their people.” ~ Vít Rakušan, minister of the interior of Czech Republic.
Russian travel documents issued in these regions are already not recognised, or in the process of not being recognised, 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.