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Germany to ease visa rules for Russian Kremlin critics

Berlin will ease visa requirements for Russian critics of Vladimir Putin’s government to allow them to live and work in Germany, an interior ministry spokesman said Monday.

Journalists, scientists and civil society activists who are facing pressure from Moscow will be able to benefit from the newly agreed rules.

Human rights defenders and employees of foreign organisations which have been classified as “undesirable” in Russia can also be granted residency under the sped-up procedures.

Their immediate family members will likewise benefit, said the spokesman.

He could not give any figures on how many people might benefit from the eased procedures, but said applicants will have to present “credible” cases.

Germany has opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion.

But in the last weeks, calls have grown for Europe’s biggest economy to also offer protection to Kremlin critics.

Deputy Chancellor Robert Habeck said however that in the process of welcoming Russians, Germany has to ensure that “the wrong ones” do not “come to us, and we don’t bring spies into our country”.