MEPs Vote not to Accept Passports Issued by Russia in Occupied Regions

The European Parliament has endorsed a decision not to accept passports and other travel documents issued by Russia in the occupied regions of Ukraine and Georgia.

The decision was approved with 531 votes in favour, 7 against and 34 abstentions.

According to the proposal, the Commission should consult EU member states and draw up a list of Russian travel documents, notably passports, which should not be accepted.

“However, those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine will still be able to enter the EU on humanitarian grounds,” the European Parliament said in its press release issued on November 24.

Once the decision has also been officially adopted by the Council and published in the Official Journal of the EU, it will enter into force on the day after its publication.

“The European Parliament is committed to doing its utmost to continue exerting pressure on Russia through legal and political means to make sure Putin pays a high price for this illegal war and for the international crimes committed against Ukraine and its people,” rapporteur Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES) said after the vote.

The “foreign ministries” of occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia both responded to the European Parliament’s decision. The Abkhaz side expressed “serious concern” over the decision and emphasized its view that it represents “another provocation aimed at the international isolation of the Republic of Abkhazia.”

“The European Union is becoming a direct accomplice to Georgia’s illegal and inhumane policy of international isolation,” they added.

On its part, Tskhinvali claimed that the move is “regarded as another unfriendly attack by the countries of the European Union, a gross violation of the fundamental principles of European democracy and, in fact, is undisguised discrimination against Russian citizens living in these territories.”

Earlier on November 10, the EU Council presidency and the European Parliament said that they reached a provisional agreement on a decision on the non-acceptance of Russian travel documents issued in Ukraine and Georgia.

On October 12, EU Ambassadors reached an agreement not to accept Russian travel documents issued in the occupied regions of Georgia and Ukraine.

Note: This article was updated on 28 November at 10:30 to reflect the comments made by occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/S. Ossetia. 

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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