Bern will stop issuing visas to holders of passports issued in the new Russian territories
Switzerland, following the EU, will no longer issue Schengen visas to holders of new Russian passports issued in Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, according to a statement published on the website of the Federal Council.
“The new Russian travel documents … are no longer accepted for obtaining a visa or crossing the external border of the Schengen area,” the document said.
The authorities explain that Switzerland was obliged to follow this European Union decision of 8 December 2022 due to its participation in the Schengen area.
“Exemptions may be granted to holders of travel documents who were already Russian citizens before that date, as well as their descendants and minors or incapacitated persons,” the statement adds.
The Federal Council clarifies that the decision took effect as of its publication.
Switzerland has previously suspended the simplified issuance of visas to Russians.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier described as inhuman sanctions and a policy of segregation the EU decision not to grant Schengen visas to Russians living in the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics and Crimea.
The EU Council in December finally approved the decision not to recognize Russian passports issued in the new Russian regions, as well as in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Earlier, the head of the Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, called the decision discriminatory and once again demonstrating “the true face, or rather, the crooked face of European democracy”.
The referendums on the incorporation of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics and Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions into the Russian Federation were held on 23-27 September. According to the results of processing of 100% of ballots, 99.23% of voters in the DNR supported joining the Russian Federation, 98.42% in the LNR, 87.05% in Kherson region and 93.11% in Zaporizhzhya region. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in the Kremlin on 30 September on the results of the referendums in the DNR, LNR and Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions, after which he signed agreements with their heads on the regions’ acceptance into Russia.
On August 26th, 2008 Moscow recognized sovereignty of South Ossetia and Abkhazia after Georgia’s armed aggression against Tskhinvali. Russian leaders have repeatedly stated that recognition of the independence of the two former Georgian autonomies reflects current realities and is not subject to revision. However, Tbilisi refuses to recognise the independence of the republics.