Cyprus is among the group of EU states arguing that a visa ban would only alienate the Russian people following the latest such proposal emanating from the bloc’s eastern flank.
The proposal is an attempt to cut the country’s wealthier class off from its regular holiday destinations but EU officials acknowledge there is little appetite for such a drastic measure.
Nicosia and other capitals resisting the idea fear it would just shut the door on dissident Russians fleeing their homeland.
The idea, to be studied in a two-day foreign ministers’ meeting starting Tuesday in Prague has actually divided EU nations.
In Nicosia, Foreign Ministry spokesman Demetris Demetriou said Cyprus’ position is that the complications of measures taken by the EU on Russian citizens and Russia in general should be examined first before getting approval.
“It is one thing to implement bans on people close to Putin and another one to punish Russian citizens collectively,” Demetriou also said.
Nicosia wants a form of “political filter” to be in place for the granting of passport visas to Russian citizens wishing to enter EU territory.