Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is urging Western governments to bar Russians from entering their countries — declaring that they ought to “live in their own world until they change their philosophy.”
The leader of the besieged country made the request in an interview on Monday with the Washington Post as the Pentagon announced another $1 billion aid package to Ukraine to Ukraine.
Zelensky told the newspaper that “the most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land.”
But the Washington Post noted that some have noted that such a ban would unduly apply to Russians who have fled their country specifically because they oppose President Vladimir Putin’s February invasion of Ukraine.
Zelensky, however, insisted that countries should not make a distinction for Putin critics.
“Whichever kind of Russian … make them go to Russia,” he told the paper.
“They’ll understand then,” the president said in the interview. “They’ll say, ‘This [war] has nothing to do with us. The whole population can’t be held responsible, can it?’ It can. The population picked this government and they’re not fighting it, not arguing with it, not shouting at it.”
“Don’t you want this isolation?” Zelensky went on. “You’re telling the whole world that it must live by your rules. Then go and live there. This is the only way to influence Putin.”
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin reportedly expressed support for restricting tourist visas for Russians.
But the Kremlin on Tuesday fired back at Zelensky’s proposed travel ban.
“The irrationality of his thinking in this case is off the scale,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
“This can only be seen extremely negatively. Any attempt to isolate Russia or Russians is a process that has no prospects.”