Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavski speaks to the media at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgium, March 21, 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo
PRAGUE: European Union defense and foreign ministers will meet in Prague this week to discuss options for setting up an EU military training mission for Ukrainian forces, and to support some member states’ blockade of Russian tourists. We will also consider calling for a ban on entering the country.
Several EU member states have been training Ukrainian armed forces for some time, allowing them to operationalize weapons that are mainly being provided to Ukraine by Western powers to help fight Russian aggression.
It is not yet clear where the EU training program will be based or what authority it will have, an EU diplomat told Reuters ahead of a meeting of defense ministers on Monday and Tuesday.
The bloc’s head of foreign policy and security, Josep Borrell, has so far given few details of his plans, saying such programs are based in neighboring countries, not Ukraine. ing.
In a joint session with representatives of the United Nations and NATO, the defense minister said the EU’s suspended training mission in Mali and the UN peacekeeping force MINUSMA have been suspended due to growing concerns about Russia’s increasing presence in the West African country. discuss the future of
The six-month-old war in Ukraine remains a foreign policy priority for the European Union, and a proposed visa ban for Russians will be on their agenda when Bloc’s foreign ministers take over a meeting in Prague on Tuesday. It will be the top.
The Czechs, who currently hold the rotating presidency of the EU, are pushing for an EU-wide visa ban for Russian tourists, an idea supported mainly by the Baltic states.
However, Germany, some other member states and Borrell have rejected such a move, arguing that it violates EU rules and could cut off the escape routes for Russian dissidents. I’m here.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, which border Russia, could act on their own to block tourists if the EU does not agree to a union-wide ban. I was.
Landsbergis says most Russians enter the EU via five national borders, as direct flights between Russia and the EU have been suspended following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
In mid-August, Estonia closed its borders to more than 50,000 Russians with previously issued visas. This is the first country in the EU to do so.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier this month called on Western countries to ban all Russians from traveling to the country, drawing heavy backlash from Moscow.