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14 Grudzień 2018

EU warning system on illegal visits to occupied territories

A written question by Anna Fotyga to the VP/HR Federica Mogherini on EU warning system on illegal visits to occupied territories:

A growing number of EU citizens have been visiting occupied territories of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia (Georgia), Crimea and Donbas (Ukraine), Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), and Transnistria (Moldova), without the consent of the states, who exercise internationally recognized sovereignty over their respective territory.

Such visits, sometimes offered by EU-based tourism agencies with Russian branches, violate the law of the sovereign states, undermine the EU’s credibility and are frequently prone to exploitation by Russia and its proxies to justify occupation. For instance, the Kremlin is seeking to legitimize its illegal annexation of Crimea by organizing visits of European officials to the peninsula.

Moreover, such actions often have negative ramifications for visitors themselves, as the states-sovereigns declare them persona non grata for illegal crossing of a respective state border and ban from the rest of their territory. Finally, given fragile security situations on the occupied territories, physical safety of EU citizens may be endangered by any military confrontation that may suddenly spiral out.

1. What measures does the EU take to prevent such illegal acts, both by EU citizens and any EU-linked private organizations?

2. Is the EU considering to issue online travel alerts of legal and security nature to warn its citizens of potential consequences of such visits and prevent them from falling into these traps?

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