RIGA - Latvia supports the initiative to restrict tourism from Russia to the European Union on the European level, President Egils Levits said after a meeting with Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) on Wednesday.
Today is six months since Russia invaded Ukraine, emphasized Levits. Russia believed that it would beat Ukraine into submission in a matter of days, but Ukrainians' resistance and motivation to fight for their freedom has been very high.
Latvia supports Ukraine and acts as an advocate for Ukraine both at the EU and in NATO, said Levits. Latvia's opinion is respected and Latvia has an influence on the EU and NATO's policies on Ukraine. There is no doubt that Ukraine will win this war, said Levits.
During today's meeting, Levits and Karins also discussed Latvia's policy on visas and temporary residence permits issued to citizens of Russia.
"We cannot pretend that nothing has happened. The Russian army is murdering people in Ukraine, while Russian citizens travel to Europe on vacation. We have our national policy on this issue. Since the beginning of the war, no new visas are issued to Russian citizens. I and the premier believe that temporary residence permits may not be extended automatically, this may be done only in exceptional cases," stressed Levits.
Karins, too, said that it was morally and ethically unacceptable that Russian citizens continue to enjoy the freedoms and privileges offered by the EU while the Russian government and armed forces slaughter peaceful residents of Ukraine and destroy the country's infrastructure.