The standoff between Moscow and the European Union over Russia’s role in the Ukraine crisis has escalated to a new level after Russia shared with EU a blacklist of 89 individuals. Now Russia’s EU envoy Vladimir Chizkov have restricted access to the European Parliament.
Earlier this week Moscow introduced a confidential blacklist for 89 European nationals to the European Union. According to the Russian news agency TASS the Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov said that the travel bans targeted those European politicans and military leaders who actively supported the February 2014 state coup in Ukraine.
The list is a response to the sanctions imposed by the EU over Russia’s takeover of Crimea, and role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
There have been several incidents where EU politicians have been denied entry to Russia on arrival, and Europe has repeatedly asked for the country’s classified list.
Some news agencies report that the “blacklist” was shared with the European Union already on May 28.
On May 24, Karl-Georg Wellmann, a minister in the German Bundestag, was denied entry on arrival at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. As a result one of the vice presidents of the Bundestag cancelled a visit to Moscow, in protest.
According to the Russian newspaper Russia Beyond The Headlines (RBTH), Dutch Prime Minister Mark Ruttle was the first to comment after Russia declassified the list, saying that “it was not based on international law, not transparent and cannot be challenged in court”.
RBTH quote a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office saying “If Russia’s intention is to put pressure on the EU to ease sanctions then this is not the way to do it”.
– Legal and proportioned measure
Moscow has repreatedly stressed that the introduction of its “blacklist” of persons barred from entering the country is “not a caprice”, but a “legal and proportioned measure to the unacceptable restrictions for the Russian representative’s entry to the EU under far-fetched pretexts”, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said yesterday.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is not dramatizing the situation amid the restricted access for the country’s EU envoy Vladimir Chizhov to the European Parliament, Ryabkov said.
– I think that one can in fact not visit that assembly as there is nothing to do there, either without restrictions or with restrictions, Ryabkov told TASS.