HomeSports7 Visas Granted to Russian Athletes by Malta Post-Ukraine Invasion

7 Visas Granted to Russian Athletes by Malta Post-Ukraine Invasion

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Authorities in Malta have issued seven visas to athletes from Russia since February 24, 2022, when the latter’s invasion of Ukraine began.

The figures were provided in Parliament following a question by Opposition MP David Aguis, who asked Sports Minister Clifton Grima, Home Affairs Minister Byorn Camilleri and Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg regarding the number of visas issued to Russians since the beginning of the invasion, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Both Grima and Camilleri directed the MEP candidate to the responsible minister as their ministries are not responsible for issuing visas, as reported by Newsbook Malta.

Borg said that visas were issued in line with the European Union visa code regulation. The applications also contained an official request from the sports organizations.

Agius also asked Clifton Grima if the Malta Racing Club’s horse races, featuring Russian and Maltese jockeys, were funded by EquestriMalta or another government entity.

He also questioned if it was smart to host these races taking into account the current global situation.

In addition, he clarified that Russian jockeys weren’t permitted to use their country’s flag, and the Malta Racing Club had to adhere to protocols from the International Olympic Committee.

These protocols are only applicable to official competitions.

Sports Minister Clifton Grima

Grima emphasized that the athletes did not participate as a team, but individually.

At no point was the Russian flag hoisted up.

Sports Minister Clifton Grima

The Sports Minister also noted that the jockeys did not wear their country’s jockey uniform jacket.

Spain Issues Visas to Athletes Allegedly Backing Ukraine Invasion

In March this year, two athletes from Russia and Belarus managed to qualify for the Paris Olympics this summer during a match in Germany, in spite of not being granted visas by authorities in Germany to enter the country.

Last year, German Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, proposed that by halting visa issuance for Russians and Belarusians, countries could use their own authority to deny such athletes from attending important events.

According to local knowledge, the athletes have Schengen visas issued by other member states. This entitles you to enter and stay in the entire Schengen area.

A spokesperson for the German Interior Ministry

In December 2023, the Council of the European Union adopted its 12th package of sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Back then the Council decided to add tens of thousands of Russian nationals to the sanctions list.

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