Russian lawmaker requests that EU blacklist be publicly available
European Greens make call for debate on Russia travel blacklist
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov needs to explain why 89 European politicians have been banned entry into Russia and confirm their names, an opposition lawmaker requested Sunday in a formal complaint.
Dmitry Gudkov, the sole member of Russia’s parliament who opposes the Kremlin, asked Lavrov on Sunday to confirm the names and to state why they were included.
Russia has shared the list with European Union officials, but has refused to release it. A leaked list published by the Finnish public broadcasting company Yle includes politicians from 17 EU countries, but no explanation for the bans.
The 28-nation EU on Saturday criticized the Russian bans as “totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency.”
Two German parliament members who were turned back after flying into Moscow are on the list and were among several refusals that led the EU to ask Russia to identify those on the list. Also on the published list are several high-ranking officials from the UK, including the head of the MI5 security service, the chief of its defense staff and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said only that the blacklist was in response to EU economic sanctions and travel bans imposed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
Gudkov’s request drew a harsh
Greens in the European Parliament on Sunday called for a debate on a travel ban imposed by Russia on 89 European citizens — many of them outspoken Kremlin critics.
The previously undisclosed list was revealed to European diplomats on Thursday, and includes past and serving parliamentarians and ministers who have openly criticized President Vladimir Putin and the war in Ukraine.
The Greens/EFA group described the blacklist as a “heavy blow for EU-Russia relations, even if its confirmation is not a surprise.”
“The blacklist targets European politicians who have engaged in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the strengthening of civil society in Russia and those who have supported Ukraine. Vladimir Putin evidently interprets any honest criticism of his authoritarian course as a threat to his power,” reaction from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
“Was he this active when EU countries put together their blacklists? And did he write such critical, or perhaps objective, letters to the leadership of the group’s president Rebecca Harms and MEP Heidi Hautala said in a joint statement.
Both women confirmed that they were on the list and called for a debate to be held in the European parliament on its “consequences.”
“It would be wrong for the EU to react with a similar blacklist but the existing sanctions against targeted individuals are well founded. MEPs must determine if and how a dialogue with the Russian parliament is possible under these conditions,” they added.
The EU representative in Moscow received a copy of the list, which has not been published, from the Russian foreign ministry on Thursday.
“The list of 89 citizens of the EU was sent to us on Thursday. The foreign ministry gave us the list and told us it was not for publication,” EU delegation spokesman Soren Liborius told Russia’s Interfax news agency on Saturday. EU countries with the request to stop compiling stop lists against Russian citizens?” Zakharova said on Govorit Moskva radio. “Probably he did this, but unfortunately for some reason no one knows about it.”