The EU issued a press release this morning which could perhaps be summed up in 2 words - "not fair." Following the denial-of-entry by Russia of several EU politicians, Russia has released a list of 89 names who will face travel bans - of exactly the same type as EU and US enforced upon numerous Russian elites. Europe is displeased that Russia would dare do unto them as they have done unto others... "we deem this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified," they exclaimed, adding, "we don’t have any further information on the legal basis or the criteria or the process of these decisions."
The travel bans by Russia appear to be a response to the E.U.’s imposing several rounds of sanctions on Russia for its role in destabilizing Ukraine, including asset freezes and travel bans on 150 officials.
Statement by the EU Spokesperson on the Russian "Stop List"
In the past few months several EU politicians have been denied entry when arriving at the Russian border. The Russian authorities justified these refusals by referring to the inclusion of these individuals on a confidential "stop list".
After each of these refusals, the EU and the Member States whose nationals were affected had repeatedly requested transparency about the content of this list.
The list with 89 names has now been shared by the Russian authorities. We don't have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process of this decision. We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency.
We are keeping in close contact with the Member States involved.
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Germans are displeased...
- *GERMANY `REGRETS' RUSSIAN TRAVEL BAN LIST FOR EUROPEANS
"if Russia thinks this action will cause the E.U. to change its position on sanctions, it is wrong,” said a spokeswoman from the British Foreign Office.
“Basically, what the Russians are doing is having a tantrum,” Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary, told the BBC. “It shows we are making an impact because they wouldn’t have reacted unless they felt very sore at what had happened.”
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Are politicians immune to hypocrisy?
As The Washington Post reports however, the Russians have their reasons...
An unnamed official from Russia’s Foreign Ministry told the Russian Interfax news agency that “it was done as a response to the campaign of sanctions that has been unleashed against Russia by some of the European Union states, with Germany at the head.”
The official also said that there is a similar list of Americans but noted, without elaboration, that the Americans had been handling the issue “more constructively than the Europeans.”
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The list - for now - has not been publicly disseminated but details are leaking out...
Among those listed is Uwe Corsepius, current secretary general of the European Union council in Brussels, who is due to take over as foreign affairs advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The document also includes Bruno Le Roux, the leader of President Francois Hollande's Socialists in parliament, Britain's former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the Liberal group in the European parliament.
Poland, which has been the sternest EU critic of Russia's policy towards Ukraine, had 18 names on the list.
"For some time we've seen that Russia is not necessarily trying to mitigate tensions but rather strengthen them," a spokeswoman for Poland's government told Reuters.
Last Monday, Germany protested to Russia over its refusal to let a conservative German lawmaker, Karl-Georg Wellmann, who had called Russia a "warmonger" earlier this year, into the country.
Other countries with names on the list include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain.