New EU sanctions against Russia stop short of Czech proposal to restrict movement of diplomats

The European Union on Wednesday approved its 13th package of sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine. The package, which will expand the existing sanctions to 200 more people, companies and institutions, is expected to be formally approved in time for the second anniversary of the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. According to Czech diplomatic sources it stopps short of the Czech proposal to restrict the movement of Russian diplomats to the host state within Schengen and accept only biometric passports, which are more difficult to forge.

Meanwhile, The Czech government is expected to extend indefinitely a ban on the issuance of new visas and residence permits to Russian and Belarussian nationals on Wednesday. The ban, which was introduced in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is valid until March 31 of this year. The ban does not apply to humanitarian cases, foreigners who already have a residence permit in the country or applications for short-stay visas if the applicant is a family member of a Czech citizen or a citizen of the European Union.