The European Parliament Sunday endorsed a proposal to not accept passports and other travel documents issued by Russia in illegally-occupied regions. The decision means that Russian passports will not be accepted if someone requests a visa to enter the EU or when they cross the EU’s external borders, and applies to both Russian-occupied Ukrainian regions, and “breakaway” territories in Georgia.
Russia has been issuing passports to residents of Crimea since the illegal annexation of the peninsula in 2014, and has now expanded this operation to include other non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine. According to the European Commission, almost all member states have already indicated that they do not accept Russian passports issued in occupied foreign regions. The proposal supports EU efforts to produce “a coordinated, consistent approach and provides legal certainty.”
Parliament approved the agreement with 531 votes in favor of the proposal. Reporter Juan Fernando López Aguilar stated:
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.
The decision will enter into force once it has been formally adopted by the Council and published in the Official Journal of the EU.