Kremlin banned 89 European officials from entering Russia.
Video by Pavel Gazdyuk
A new scandal is erupting over the Russia’s blacklist of European Union politicians and military officials. The blacklist includes 89 EU citizens whose position on Russia is hostile and bars them from entering Russia. The move is believed to be taken by Kremlin in response to a fierce criticism from some EU countries and to their anti-Russia sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.
Most of the blacklisted politicians are from Poland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia and Germany. Countries that have taken a softer stance towards Moscow, such as Italy, Hungary, Austria and Slovakia, were absent from the list.
Kremlin’s move sparks an angry reaction from the EU. The EU says the travel bans are arbitrary and unjustified.
Russian Foreign Ministry criticized the European Union on Monday for allowing the publication of the blacklist which was handed over to the EU confidentially. Simultaneously, Foreign Minister Srgey Lavrov dismissed as absurd Western criticism that Russia's move was unjustified.
Russian officials say the visa bans had been imposed step by step since the middle of last year in response to hostile policy against Russia.
They also underline that Moscow will reciprocate accordingly if the United States or European Union decide to expand their blacklists of Russian citizens.