EU condemns 'arbitrary' Nemtsov funeral bans

3rd March 2015, Comments 0 comments

The EU on Tuesday condemned Russia's "arbitrary" refusal to allow several prominent European figures to attend the funeral of assassinated opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

Latvian MEP Sandra Kalniete and Polish Senate speaker Bogdan Borusewicz were both denied entry by Moscow, which faces EU sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

"This refusal to allow several individuals, for example Sandra Kalniete, to enter into the territory of the Russian Federation is a clear breach of basic principles," European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said.

Kalniete told AFP she had been turned back at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport without explanation, and the spokeswoman said the Latvian had been carrying a diplomatic passport.

"The justification given in particular in this case, implying that she would represent a threat to the stae or public of the Russian Federation, does not appear as a credible explanation."

She added: "It is not the first time that we see such refusals for apparently arbitrary reasons."

European Parliament head Martin Schulz said Russia's actions were "without the slightest element of reasoning."

"I will address the Russian authorities in the strongest terms and demand an official explanation," he said in a statement.

Poland's foreign ministry earlier announced the refusal of entry to Borusewicz.

Thousands of mourners on Tuesday filed past the coffin of Nemtsov, who was gunned down Friday while walking across a bridge just a short distance from the Kremlin.

© 2015 AFP

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