TALLINN - Former president of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves has initiated a discussion on social media on whether or not entry into the European Union should be suspended for all Russian nationals in the interest of security, Postimees reports.
"Maybe there should be a 'time out' for any and I mean *any* visits from Russia. Up to the invasion of Crimea these people were arrogantly demanding visa-free travel with the EU. Just freeze visas except for family emergencies. It is Europe's security at stake. Enough," Ilves wrote on Twitter.
Ilves' tweet followed an announcement on Saturday of the Czech Republic expelling 18 diplomats whom the local intelligence services had identified as agents of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service SVR and Military Intelligence Service GRU. Said agents have been linked to a deadly explosion in 2014.
Citing Ilves' tweet, the Russian radio station Echo of Moscow reported that the European Union has yet to respond to the statement.
The Estonian ex-president's post got hundreds of comments, and on Sunday evening, Ilves tweeted: "To all the myriad trolls bleating and tweeting ad hominem nonsense at me -- it ain't me, babes."
"If Russia launches an attack on Ukraine and invades, as all the transport of materiel suggests and prime time TV keeps ranting, visas will be on the table in Europe. With or without me," he said.