EU summons Russian envoy over blacklisting of officials
BRUSSELS — The European Union summoned the Russian ambassador on Monday after Moscow put eight EU nationals, including top Brussels officials, on a blacklist in retaliation for sanctions by the bloc.
Moscow’s envoy Vladimir Chizhov “was informed of the strong rejection and firm condemnation by the EU institutions and EU Member States of this decision, which was purely politically motivated and lacks any legal justification,” an EU statement said.
Senior officials from the European Commission and EU’s diplomatic service in the meeting “noted that the EU reserves the right to take appropriate measures in response”, it said.
On Friday, Russia barred entry to eight officials from the EU — European Parliament president David Sassoli and commission vice-president Vera Jourova were among them — in response to sanctions over abuses such as the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, European Council boss Charles Michel and Sassoli condemned Moscow’s measures as “groundless” in a joint statement on Friday and threatened the EU could hit back.
The latest row with the Kremlin comes as tensions between the bloc and Russia have surged over Ukraine, Navalny and the tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats involving a number of EU member state.
The statement said the EU officials at the meeting “also recalled Russia’s expulsion of Czech diplomats and the executive order of the Russian Federation of so called ‘unfriendly states’, expressing their grave concern for the cumulative impact of all these decisions on the relations between the EU and the government of the Russian Federation”.