Baltic states, Poland and Finland could ban Russian tourists, says Lithuania

VILNIUS, Aug 23 (Reuters) - European Union members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, which all share a border with Russia, may stop Russian tourists from entering their countries if the EU does not enact a union-wide ban, Lithuania's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"I have talked to ministers from all these countries... I don't see many differences politically," Gabrielius Landsbergis told reporters in Vilnius.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss on Monday an EU-wide visa ban for Russian nationals, which is supported mainly by the five countries bordering Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz opposed such a ban on Monday, saying Russians should be able to flee their home country if they disagree with Kremlin policy. Some other EU countries such as Hungary are also likely to resist an EU-wide ban.

A regional visa ban for Russians, which ministers from the five countries plan to discuss on the sidelines of Monday's gathering, would need to apply uniform rules to block tourists while allowing dissidents to enter, Landsbergis said.

"Russian tourists shouldn't be in the European Union... Their country is carrying out genocide (in Ukraine)," he said, referring to a war which has seen thousands killed, millions driven from their homes and cities and towns flattened.

Russians mostly enter the EU via the land borders of the five countries since direct flights between Russia and the bloc were suspended following the invasion, said Landsbergis.

Estonia last week closed its border to more than 50,000 Russians with previously issued visas, the first country in the EU to do so, making it harder for ordinary Russians to enter EU. read more

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the West earlier this month to impose a blanket travel ban on Russians, drawing an angry rebuke from Moscow. read more

Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, editing by Terje Solsvik and Gareth Jones

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