Rus­sian law­maker re­quests that EU black­list be pub­licly avail­able

Euro­pean Greens make call for de­bate on Rus­sia travel black­list

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.”

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