Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday pleaded with Western leaders to further isolate the Kremlin by closing their borders to Russian travelers as the war approaches the six-month mark.
“The most important sanctions are to close the borders — because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land,” Zelenskyy told The Washington Post.
He added that Russian citizens should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy,” noting the whole country should face consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“They’ll understand then,” he continued.
Zelenskyy told the Post restricting Russian travelers for a year coupled with a ban on Russian energy would be a stronger deterrent to Putin’s continuing war, calling current sanctions “weak.”
While Europe and the U.S. have already closed their airspace to Russia, they have not prohibited Russian citizens from entering their countries.
Some European countries are already heeding Ukraine’s calls for tighter restrictions.
“It’s not right that at the same time as Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists,” Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin told Yle.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also tweeted in support of the proposal.
“Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians,” Kallas wrote. “Visiting [Europe] is a privilege, not a human right.”
The U.S. on Monday said it would send Ukraine $1 billion in military equipment, including rockets, according to The Associated Press.