The travel ban placed by Russia on its journalists, members of the European parliaments, and commissioners entering the country have been condemned by the EU in response to the sanctions levelled against it.
On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell released a statement that said the EU sanctioned Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
“The European Union deplores the decision of the Russian authorities to ban a number of European Union nationals, including officials of the European Union and from the member states, as well as members of the European Parliament and member states’ parliaments, from entering the territory of the Russian Federation in retaliation for EU sanctions linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the statement said.
Mr Borrell’s comments came after the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had “expanded” the list of EU nationals and representatives of institutions denied entry into Russia.
Russia said the restrictions covered the “top leadership of the EU, a number of European commissioners and heads of EU military bodies, as well as the overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament that have advanced anti-Russian policies.”
The travel ban also covers government officials, national lawmakers from EU member countries, and journalists who are “personally responsible for promoting illegal anti-Russian sanctions, inflaming Russophobic sentiments and infringing on the rights and freedoms of Russian-speakers.”
The ban was initially put in place a year ago, covering high-ranking officials such as the European Parliament’s then-President David Sassoli, European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová and other senior European officials.