President: Czech Republic should drop visa requirement for Russians

Czech President Miloš Zeman has told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS the Czech Republic should lift visas as quickly as possible for citizens of the Russian federation. He expressed the opinion in connection with sanctions faced by Russia over the Ukraine crisis, saying he saw no reason for the EU to isolate Russia. Nor did he see the need for sanctions, blockades or embargoes. Mr Zeman expressed the view that isolation had never led to success but only deepened misunderstanding and mistrust. The president’s spokesman pointed out that Mr Zeman’s view that economic sanctions were “counterproductive” is one that he has long held. The head of the Czech Association of Travel Agencies confirmed, meanwhile, that the Czech Republic has seen 40 percent fewer Russian tourists this year, due in part to developments in Ukraine, but also, due to the lengthy protocol and cost of obtaining a visa.