Ukraine warns the United Nations that those fleeing Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization announcement may be bad actors.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the intergovernmental organization, worries that the nearly 300,000 men seeking refuge in neighboring countries could really be “Trojan Horses,” aka Kremlin operatives waiting to strike on Russia’s behalf after infiltrating democratic nations.
“While genuine members of opposition should be considered for temporary protection in Europe and elsewhere, the army of Trojan horsemen of would-be Russian soldiers in Europe may pose a security threat, especially to neighboring countries and beyond,” tweeted Kyslytsya.
While genuine members of opposition should be considered for temporary
protection in Europe and elsewhere, the army of Trojan horsemen of would-be
Russian soldiers in Europe may pose a security threat, especially to neighboring
countries and beyond. pic.twitter.com/yWY54Ta45f
— Sergiy Kyslytsya (@SergiyKyslytsya) September 29, 2022
“Why should we turn a blind eye to the high probability that hundreds of thousands of conscript-refugees now infiltrating Europe [are] the same people who remained loyal & obedient to [P]utin till the very last moment,” Kyslytsya said Thursday.
The Ukrainian official isn’t alone in his apprehension – or suspicion – of the refugees’ intentions. Finland, one of the newest members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), issued a resolution on Thursday to “restrict the entry of Russian tourists entering Finland.” The restrictions will go into effect on September 30, according to the Finnish government’s website.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the mobilisation declared by Russia have changed the security situation in Europe. The Government deems that the Russian mobilisation and the rapidly increasing volume of tourists arriving in Finland and transiting via Finland endanger Finland’s international position and international relations.
In early September, Poland joined Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in limiting the entry of Russian nationals from Russia and Belarus, Reuters reported. The restrictions went into effect on Sept. 19th. A statement from the Polish government said, “It is unacceptable that, while people in Ukraine are being tortured and murdered, citizens from the aggressor state (Russia) can travel freely within the EU.”
“The measures are adopted on the basis of the common rationale of the protection of public order and internal security, as well as the overall security of our common Schengen area,” the Polish government said.
The Polish government is referring to Article 6 (1)(e)of the Schengen Borders Code, “according to which the entry of third-country nationals requires that they are not considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of any of the Member States.” Giving member states expanded authority to factor in international relations and national security, when making decisions restricting entry.
With Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 – and the recent illegal annexation of four occupied Ukrainian regions – the actions of countries like Finland, Poland and the Baltic states is less than surprising. In violation of international law, and what NBC News calls the “biggest annexation of territory in postwar Europe,” Vladimir Putin unceremoniously declared Russian control announcing that the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, now belong to the former Soviet Union.
“We think it’s important, for our part, to continue to have our doors open to Russians who are in a position to come to this country.”
The White House has pledged support for Russians seeking asylum, echoed by the State Department. On Wednesday, State Department Press Secretary Ned Price did acknowledge the right of countries within the European Union to do what’s best for their citizens and country’s security, saying, “Each country is going to have to make its own sovereign decision about how to respond to Russians that are seeking refuge and safety within their borders,” Price said. “That is not something that we are going to prescribe.”
Original reporting by Shannon Vavra at The Daily Beast.
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