Russia imposes entry ban on 8 EU officials

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Russia has placed entry bans on eight officials from EU states, including members of the European Parliament and the European Commission. The move comes after the EU hit Russian officials with sanctions in March.

Russia has placed entry bans on eight officials from EU states, including European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“The European Union continues its policy of unilateral illegitimate restrictive measures targeting Russian citizens and organizations,” the ministry said in a statement.

Berlin’s chief state prosecutor Jörg Raupach was also among those who will not be allowed to enter Russia.

What triggered the entry bans?

In March, the EU placed sanctions on two Russians accused of persecuting gay and lesbian people in Chechnya. The 27-member bloc last month also imposed sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin due to the jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

“Only in March 2021, six Russians were subjected to unlawful entry restrictions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry continued in its statement. “This practice contradicts the UN Charter and the basic norms of international law. It is accompanied by anti-Russian hysteria, deliberately spread by Western media.”

Russia did not provide an explanation for why the government targeted these specific individuals with entry bans. Sassoli and Jourova have criticized the Kremlin for its treatment of Navalny and disinformation campaigns online.

How have European officials responded to the entry bans?

European officials have widely condemned the new sanctions from Russia.

Sassoli said the Kremlin’s decision would not stop him from “defending human rights, freedom, and democracy.”

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