Europe should allow Russian citizens who wish to leave the country and show "openness towards those who do not want the Kremlin to use them for its own purposes." The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated this in an interview with Politico.
According to him, Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization of troops earlier this week changed the dynamics of the war.
Michel, who heads the European Council, which represents EU heads of state and government, said it was open to consultations with its EU counterparts on how this could be achieved.
"Basically, I think the European Union should take in people who are in danger because of their political views. If in Russia people are in danger because of their political views because they don't follow this crazy decision of the Kremlin to start this war in Ukraine , we have to take that into account," he said.
Michel's comments came ahead of a meeting of EU ambassadors on Monday, organized as part of the EU's Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR), a mechanism that allows rapid and coordinated decision-making at EU political level in times of crisis.
The European Union agreed this month to end a visa facilitation agreement with Russia after several countries objected to Russian citizens visiting and vacationing in Europe as Putin's government wages war in Ukraine.
But now that Russian citizens are queuing at the border to leave the country, the EU is facing calls to open its borders.
Ambassadors are likely to discuss options that may be available to the EU at a meeting on Monday. Among the possibilities is that the EU could grant humanitarian status to some arriving citizens rather than refugee status. While the EU activated a special Temporary Protection Directive for the first time in its history in March, granting Ukrainians the right to live and work in the European Union for a set period of time, it is unlikely that such a scheme will be introduced for Russians, the publication notes.