Opposing EU visa ban on Russians 'is shortsighted' says Lithuania's president

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Lithuania's President, Gitanas Nauseda, has urged EU neighbours to grin and bear the economic consequences of stricter border controls on Russian citizens.

It comes as Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Poland said they want to impose tougher visa restrictions on Russian citizens if no EU-wide ban is agreed upon.

EU foreign ministers this week agreed to freeze a visa agreement with Moscow that made it easier for Russian citizens to obtain Schengen visas.

“I perfectly understand there are countries that, for understandable reasons, do not want to give up an opportunity to earn money. But...it‘s a short-sighted viewpoint – to earn money from an aggressor country in which the majority of the population support aggression," said Lithuania president Gitanas Nauseda.

Lithuania's foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, revealed on Thursday that Russian citizens had crossed the Lithuanian border over one-hundred and thirty thousand times, and that over twelve-million Russian nationals who hold Schengen visas are still eligible to enter the bloc. He said this poses not just a security challenge, but a moral one, too.

The five countries will now hold talks on a regional solution to bar entry to some visa-holding Russians, starting next week.