“If such a solution is not found, we do not rule out seeking a regional solution,” Landsbergis said. He did not specify what it could be.
The five countries he mentioned, all of which are members of the EU, want the bloc as a whole to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. They have already either stopped issuing such visas or restricted them, saying Russians should not be able to vacation in Europe while Moscow wages war on Ukraine.
In Warsaw, Radoslaw Fogiel, spokesman for Poland’s conservative ruling Law and Justice party, said on Tuesday he wanted the “strictest possible limitations in granting visas to Russians, at European level”.
However, there is no unanimity within the 27-member bloc and some EU leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have dismissed the idea as counterproductive. The EU itself has said that a total ban on tourists does not follow the rules and that each case must be considered individually.
The visa issue will be raised at an informal meeting of European Union foreign ministers on August 31.
The EU banned air travel from Russia after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine. But Russians can still travel overland to neighboring EU countries and then apparently take flights to other European destinations.
Visas issued in the European travel zone, known as the Schengen area, can be used in the 26 countries in the zone, including 22 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland . Normally, people and goods move freely between these countries without border controls.
Lithuania, along with the other Baltic countries Latvia and Estonia, have taken a tough stance against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Full coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine