Russia said on Tuesday it would impose entry bans on representatives of EU countries and institutions in response to EU sanctions imposed on Russian officials for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“The Russian side, acting on the basis of reciprocity, has decided to expand the list of representatives of member states and EU institutions who will be refused entry into the Russian Federation,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release. He did not name which officials to ban, but said the measure would target “those responsible for promoting anti-Russian sanctions initiatives within the framework of the European Union.”
The ministry said the “hasty and secret” adoption by the EU Council of “illegitimate restrictive measures” went against international law and that “unfriendly action by Western countries” must “be answered. adequate ”.
According to the RIA news agency, the French ambassador to Russia Pierre Lévy, the deputy German ambassador Beate Grzeski and a representative of the Swedish embassy were summoned to the ministry on Tuesday morning and informed of the decision.
In response to the poisoning of Navalny, the EU decided in October to impose travel bans and freeze the assets of six senior Russian officials, including the head of the Federal Security Service, two deputy ministers of the Defense and former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko.
The EU has also imposed sanctions on the National Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology on suspicion of producing the nerve agent Novichok which several European laboratories have confirmed was used to poison Navalny.
Shortly after being released from hospital in Berlin where he spent a month recovering from the attack, Navalny said he was certain Russian President Vladimir Putin was the cause of the poisoning , stressing that all officials empowered to order an attack on Novichok to the president. Putin rejected the accusation.
On Monday, Navalny posted a video showing him apparently deceiving one of the officers accused of involvement in the operation by having him confess to the plot.