Moscow issues entry ban on European politicians

Updated: 2015-06-01 07:28

By Agencies in Moscow and Berlin(China Daily)

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Move worsens standoff in the Ukraine conflict; EU condemns it as arbitrary and unjustified

Russia has imposed an entry ban on 89 European politicians and military leaders, a move that has angered Europe and worsened its standoff with the West over Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict.

Moscow confirmed it had sent a list of people who were denied entry to Russia to the European Union countries, but said it preferred to refrain from comments on personalities, a high-ranking official at the Russian Foreign Ministry told Tass on Saturday.

Media said the list comprised 89 EU citizens, 18 of whom have Polish citizenship.

Russia recommended long ago that envoys of those countries that imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation apply to Russian consular offices before their trips to determine whether they are barred from entering the country, he said.

The list, which the Russian Foreign Ministry compiled and handed to an EU delegation in Moscow this week, included outspoken critics of Russia as well as military and intelligence officials, according to Reuters. A similar list exists for US citizens, a ministry official told Russian media.

The EU has imposed economic sanctions, visa bans and asset freezes on scores of Russian and Ukrainian citizens and organizations since March 2014.

Moscow issues entry ban on European politicians

Accusations denied

Moscow denied Western accusations that it is supporting separatists battling government forces in Ukraine, where 6,200 people have died in the fighting.

A spokeswoman for EU foreign affairs said that in recent months Russia had denied entry to a number of EU politicians.

"We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency," she said.

Among those listed is Uwe Corsepius, the secretary-general of the European Union Council in Brussels, who is due to take over as foreign affairs adviser to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Also listed are Bruno Le Roux, the leader of France's Socialist Party, Britain's former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the Liberal group in the European Parliament.

"For some time we've seen that Russia is not necessarily trying to mitigate tensions, but rather strengthen them," said a spokeswoman for Poland's government.

Reuters - Xinhua

(China Daily 06/01/2015 page12)