Russia issues blacklist, bars EU politicians: Dutch PM

29th May 2015, Comments 0 comments

Moscow has issued a blacklist of European Union politicians barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

"Russia yesterday handed over a list of people to diverse EU embassies who may not enter Russia any longer," Rutte said at a weekly press conference, adding that two Dutch MPs and a Dutch MEP were on the list.

Moscow issued the list, reportedly of 80-90 names, on Thursday in response to the EU's own sanctions and travel bans over Russia's annexation of the Crimea and its alleged involvement in the eastern Ukraine, Rutte said.

A spokeswoman for the EU diplomatic service in Brussels told AFP that Russia had barred several European politicians from entry in recent months, but had so far refused to provide a list of those targeted.

"We take note that the Russian authorities have decided to share the list. We don't have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process," the spokeswoman said in an email statement.

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the Liberal group in the European Parliament and a former Belgian PM, is also on the list, his spokesman told AFP.

"Verhofstadt is banned from entry to Russia. He is on a blacklist with around 80 people," the spokeman said.

Rutte said the Dutch government rejected the move and would let "Moscow know so in no uncertain terms".

Russia's list "was not based on international law, was not transparent and could not be challenged" in a court of law, Rutte added.

"We reject Moscow's action and we let them know so in no uncertain terms," he told journalists.

© 2015 AFP

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