The French ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Christine Toudic, has said that the latter must harmonise its visa policy with the European Union and introduce a visa requirement for nationals of Russia.
Ambassador Toudic made such a request after a two-day visit she had to Banja Luka, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to ambassador Toudic, Bosnia and Herzegovina must introduce a visa regime for nationals of Russia in order to show that it is ready to align its policy with the EU since it wishes to be granted candidate status.
Even though the Bosnian authorities have yet not made an official statement on the request, Nenad Stevandic, who is a Republika Srpska parliament speaker, said that it is unacceptable to be pressured. Stevandic said that they have the right to disagree on certain topics and stressed that no conditions should be set.
It is believed that the French ambassador required Bosnia and Herzegovina to introduce a visa requirement for Russians after taking into account the high number of Russians that have sought mobilisation in the country.
Data show that the number of nationals of Russia reaching Bosnia increased significantly in October 2022 compared to September 2022. In October 2022, around 890 Russians reached Bosnia and Herzegovina whereas in October only around 300 of them travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Currently, Russians can stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a period of up to 30 days without having to obtain a visa. The same applies to nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina visiting Russia.
While Russians can still enter Bosnia and Herzegovina without a visa, the case is not the same for the European Union countries. The EU Member States have already introduced strict entry rules for Russians and some have also banned their entry.
In line with the decision adopted in December 2022, Russian travel documents that have been issued in Ukrainian and Georgian regions/territories occupied by Russia are no longer accepted to travel to the EU or obtain a visa.
The entry rules to the EU for Russians remain eased only for certain categories of travellers. Previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that the EU countries have been urged to facilitate multiple-entry visa issuance for human rights defenders from Russia. Nonetheless, the possibility for the EU Member States to do so remains limited.