The Council of the European Union has adopted a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in the occupied territories of Ukraine and Georgia.
This is said in a statement published on the website of the EU Council, Ukrinform reports.
“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,” the statement says.
Thus, 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.
It is noted that 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.
As reported, since the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, Russia has issued Russian international passports to residents of Crimea. That practice was extended to the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk in April 2019, followed by the occupied regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in July 2022.
The European Union considers this systematic issuance of Russian passports in those occupied regions constitutes a further infringement of international law and Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence.