The EU condemns Moscow’s mandatory measures and says it reserves the right to “take appropriate measures in response.”
Russia has blacklisted eight officials from European Union countries, which has banned them from entering the country in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russian citizens by the bloc.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Vera Jourova, vice president of values and transparency at the European Executive Commission, was among those banned; David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament; and Jacques Maire, member of the French delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“The European Union continues to implement its policy of illegitimate and unilateral restrictive measures against Russian citizens and organizations,” the ministry said in a statement.
He accused the bloc of “openly and deliberately” undermining Russia’s independence from domestic and foreign policy.
“All our proposals for resolving problems between Russia and the EU through direct professional dialogue have been constantly ignored or rejected,” the ministry added.
In reaction to the news, Sassoli said the measure would not prevent EU lawmakers nor he “from defending human rights, freedom and democracy.”
“Apparently I’m not welcome in the Kremlin? I had suspected it a bit … “, he wrote on Twitter.
“Threats will not silence us,” Sassoli said.
Apparently, am I not welcome in the Kremlin? I had suspected it a bit … No sanction or intimidation will stop him @Europarl_EN or I of the defense of human rights, freedom and democracy. Threats will not silence us. As Tolstoy wrote, there is no greatness where there is no truth.
– David Sassoli (@EP_President) April 30, 2021
In a separate joint statement, Sassoli, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council head Charles Michel said they condemned Russia’s “unacceptable” action in “the strongest possible terms.” “and they said it showed that Moscow had chosen a path of confrontation with the bloc.
“The EU reserves the right to take appropriate action in response to the decision of the Russian authorities,” they said.
Others banned by Russia
Russia also banned three officials from the Baltic states: Ivars Abolins, chairman of Latvia’s National Electronic Media Council; Maris Baltins, director of the Latvian State Language Center; and Ilmar Tomusk, Head of the Estonian Language Inspectorate.
Also on the blacklist were Jorg Raupach, a prosecutor in Berlin, and Asa Scott, of the Swedish Defense Research Agency.
Scott was among officials who said Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny had been poisoned in Russia last year with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
Navalny recovered from the poisoning in Germany and was arrested on his return to Russia in January. The Kremlin critic was sentenced the following month to two-and-a-half years in prison for parole violations for a previous conviction for embezzlement that he said was politically motivated.
The EU imposed sanctions in March on two Russians accused of persecuting gays and lesbians in the Chechnya region of southern Russia.
Last month, the bloc also imposed sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin.