Bali Governor Wayan Koster made headlines this week for proposing to the central government that Russias and Ukrainians be stripped of their visa on arrival (VOA) privilege in Indonesia amid the growing number of violations committed by foreign travelers on the Island of Gods.
The countries’ respective ambassadors to Indonesia are making their case against the measure.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an investment and tourism forum between Indonesia and Russia in Jakarta today, Russia’s Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva said that her government always encourages travelers from their country to obey the law in Indonesia, which is something that the majority of Russians respect.
“Of course just like any nationality there are several people who do not really obey the law, but I don’t think that is something to be focused on,” she said.
Vorobieva said a VOA revocation for Russians would greatly impact the number of tourists coming to Indonesia.
“First of all, the removal [of Russia] from the visa on arrival [eligibility list] is just a proposal from the Bali governor, and I hope this matter does not become a problem,” she said.
“If you are thinking of a place to visit, of course you would think how difficult it is if you cannot get a visa on arrival.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Indonesia Vasyl Hamianin said that he was disappointed that Russians and Ukrainians were lumped together in the proposal, especially as his country is currently fighting for their freedom.
“This is very offensive to my feelings as a Ukraine citizen, because generalizing Russians and Ukrainians and blaming them for something that is not proven,” he said in an online press conference earlier this week.
Hamianin revealed that since 2019, only eight Ukrainians have been deported from Indonesia while five were jailed.
“But not for serious crimes such as drugs or murder,” he added.
Previously, Koster proposed that Russians be stripped of their VOA privileges as citizens of the Eastern European nation have increasingly come under the microscope over violations of the law in Bali, ranging from traffic offenses to visa misuse.
Koster also proposed the same for travelers from Ukraine, whose country is still at war with Russia since the latter invaded last year. In one recent case, a Ukrainian was caught illicitly obtaining an Indonesian national identity card (KTP) to be able to stay in Indonesia and escape the conflict back home.
“The two nations are at war, [their citizens] are not comfortable in their countries. They flock to Bali, including those who are not looking for leisure but finding comfort, as well as finding employment,” Koster said recently.
Amid a rise in cases involving Russians and Ukrainians overstaying their visas or working illegally on the Island of Gods, Bali Governor Wayan Koster is appealing to the central government…
13 Mar 2023
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