Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich to a media question about Schengen visas for Crimeans
Question: What is the situation like with Schengen visas for Russian citizens residing in Crimea and Sevastopol?
Alexander Lukashevich: The European Union countries, due to their non-recognition of Crimea and Sevastopol’s unification with the Russian Federation, have closed their consulates and visa centres on the [Crimean] peninsula and are accepting visa applications only at consulates located on the Ukrainian territory. The victims of this policy are the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol as they have serious problems getting Schengen visas.
In these circumstances, the statements we hear regularly from EU officials, politicians and public figures, expressing “concern” over the alleged human rights violations, above all against Crimean Tatars, in Crimea and Sevastopol, look like nothing but demagoguery. As it puts up visa obstacles for Crimeans, the European Union is, in fact, deliberately seeking to virtually restrict the freedom of movement of the residents of the peninsula.
We regard this as an unjustifiable collective punishment of the peninsula’s population, whose destiny and whose rights the EU takes so much to heart. At the same time, the EU prefers not to mention the fact that the afore-mentioned discriminatory measures equally affect all the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, including the Tatar, Greek, German, Italian and other ethnic groups.
During our conversations with EU officials and representatives of the EU member countries we constantly point to this glaring violation of the right of Crimeans to freedom of movement as a result of our partners’ hypocritical policy. Unfortunately, however, we have seen no shifts in their position so far.