Estonian Diplomat Proposes 'Loyalty Declaration' For Citizenship Applicants From Russia

HELSINKI (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th September, 2022) Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu on Thursday called for the introduction of a "declaration of loyalty" for Russian citizens who wish to obtain Estonian citizenship or extend residence permits.

"I think that in the current situation it is quite appropriate to raise the question of people actually giving a declaration of loyalty. This means assessing how they understand Russia's war in Ukraine, how people understand Estonia's past. This also applies to extending or issuing residence permits in Estonia to Russian citizens," Reinsalu said during a press conference.

According to the minister, the granting of citizenship today is based on formal requirements, which means an Estonian language test and knowledge of the constitution of the republic.

On February 24, Russia began a military operation in Ukraine, responding to calls for help from the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. In response, the West and its allies have rolled out a comprehensive sanctions campaign against Moscow. A number of EU countries have reduced the issuance of tourist visas to Russians, while also calling for a total ban on granting Schengen visas to the country's citizens. Moscow said that it considers the idea a manifestation of chauvinism and that such a decision will invite retaliatory measures.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization on September 21, thousands of Russians left for neighboring countries, including Estonia. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia's mobilization resources total 25 million people, while the partial mobilization requires only 1% of that number, or about 300,000 reservists.