The European Union might soon introduce restrictions on some Russian diplomats in the bloc, curbing their freedom of movement in the Schengen Area.
A proposal on the restriction of the movement of Russian diplomats in the Schengen Area was first made in December of last year, and since then, Czechia has been pushing for it to be approved.
In line with the proposal, the EU might no longer permit Russian diplomats accredited in a certain Member State to visit the other countries part of the area freely.
This would mean that a Russian diplomat who is accredited in Czechia, for example, could not be able to enter neighbouring countries freely, in this case, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland.
Czechia proposes to establish the restriction of the movement of Russian diplomatic mission staff and their family members only to the territory of the state where they are accredited.
Minister Lipavský further said earlier in January that Russian diplomats should no longer be given the privilege of entering the area and, at the same time, stressed that the country is committed to having its proposal incorporated into the 13th package of sanctions.
While this seems like a good move that is aimed at preventing Russian diplomats from travelling freely in the Schengen Area, it is still very difficult to implement.
This is because, in general, the Schengen countries apply no border controls with one another. Once a person enters the Schengen Area, they can move from one member country to another without undergoing controls provided that no measures are in place.
A new sanctions package against Russia is set to be introduced on February 24, which has been considered a symbolic date by the Parliament of the European Union as it represents the second anniversary of the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Even though the EU has yet to announce the new sanctions package, several EU diplomats have already revealed that the new package will list several Russian and Belarusian military officers.
The new measures will also target entities who have been helping Russia in securing different prohibited arm components.
Commenting on the new upcoming package of sanctions, the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the current existing sanctions have already weakened Russia.
Similar to the other packages that have been introduced so far, the 13th package is also expected to include restrictions that will target individuals and entities.