KENTUCKY, UKRAINE, UKAP – NOVEMBER 03: A woman poses for a portrait at the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on November 3, 2016 in Sochi,Russia.
The Russian government on Wednesday imposed a travel ban on visitors from seven of the country’s nine Muslim-majority regions, as it seeks to stem a rise in extremism.
(Photo by Yuri Gripas/Getty Images) The UK, with its strong ties to Russia and its desire to remain part of the European Union, has been looking to boost trade with the region, with the EU’s ambassador to Russia citing the economic benefits of the region in an open letter.
“The UK’s long-standing support for Russia and Russia’s security is well known.
As part of our commitment to the European Free Trade Association, we are committed to work closely with our partners in Russia and elsewhere in the region to further develop bilateral trade,” Andrew Miller, EU ambassador to Moscow, wrote in a letter to the British parliament.
The letter comes after Prime Minister David Cameron called Russia a “great friend” and said the EU was looking for ways to increase economic ties with the country.
Cameron made the comments during an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, in which he said the UK would seek to help Russia in its fight against the spread of the coronavirus.
Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, also addressed the issue on Monday during her annual news conference in London, saying she hopes the EU will have “full confidence” in Russia.
“We will work with all the partners, whether they be in Europe or in Russia, to make sure that the UK and other European countries are not left behind when it comes to the fight against this virus,” Ashton said.
Britain’s decision to ban travel from Russia and other Muslim-dominated regions in the EU comes amid a growing concern that the coronacide virus is threatening to increase extremism.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, between November 2014 and January 2017, coronaviruses such as EV-D68, the first coronaviral strain to be linked to Westerners, accounted for 5,000 deaths and 5,500 hospitalizations.
The UK has so far reported 4,872 EV-DS68 cases, but it is unclear how many of those were related to travel restrictions imposed by Russia.
The UK also imposed travel restrictions in March 2016 and February 2017 on Russians and people from Muslim- and Christian-majority countries.