Wed, 28 Oct 2020

Russia said on September 23 that it is expanding a list of barred European officials in response to what it called 'hostile steps' against it and its citizens.

The announcement, by the Russian Foreign Ministry, did not specify what actions it was reciprocating.

But it said the number of EU officials who will be denied entry to Russia is now the same as the number of its officials on a similar EU list.

It described its own blacklist as 'a reciprocal list of representatives of EU countries and institutions who are banned from entering Russian territory.'

Russia said it could act further if Brussels continued its 'confrontational' policies.

'The EU is continuing to expand its sanctions tools and apply them on the basis of groundless and sometimes absurd pretexts,' it said, according to AFP.

'We have repeatedly warned the EU about the malignancy of such an approach.'

Russia and the European Union have gaping differences over alleged Russian meddling in Western elections, Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, suspected Russian assassinations and attempted assassinations in Western Europe, and more recently the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have demanded explanations from Russia since German and other tests showed the Kremlin critic was poisoned with a Soviet-designed Novichok chemical agent.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on September 23 repeated Moscow's accusations that Western states are carrying out 'a massive disinformation campaign' over Navalny's hospitalization.

Based on reporting by AFP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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