Activists and a group of civil society organizations reiterated support for the Ukrainian people and demanded that “a visa regime be established for citizens of the Russian Federation.”
In the open letter published on 16 August, the group emphasized, “… The Russian Federation has committed acts prohibited by international/laws of war in Ukraine and Georgia and continues to violate the territorial integrity of our country…”
“We believe that the control of Russian citizens and businesses entering Georgia is a matter of the country’s national security,” they said.
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They stressed that the increasing number of Russian citizens and businesses entering Georgia “clearly indicates that the citizens of the occupying state are free to use occupied Georgia to escape the difficult economic situation created by the sanctions against the Russian Federation.”
The group underscored that Russia’s practice of invading a country under the pretext of protecting its citizens living there “creates a sufficient basis for establishing a visa regime.”
The letter further explained that “any independent country has the right to decide which countries’ citizens have the right to enter, move, and enjoy the benefits of the country.” “In addition, it is a proven practice to restrict the enjoyment of certain rights to citizens of an occupying and hostile country…,” they added.
“Here we point out that the acceptance of political asylum and refugee status is recognized and regulated by international legal instruments, which are used individually… Accordingly, the mentioned rules cannot be used against the establishment of the visa regime,” the letter concluded.