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Borrell hits back after Russia bans top EU officials from entry

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday slammed Russia’s decision to ban EU commissioners, MEPs and EU journalists from entering the country.

In a statement issued by the EU foreign policy service, Borrell said that the EU “deplores the decision of the Russian authorities to ban a number of European Union nationals” from entering the territory of Russia in retaliation for EU sanctions leveled against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Borrell’s remarks come a day after the Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying it “expanded” the list of EU nationals and representatives of institutions who will be denied entry into Russia, saying the “EU policy of sanctions against Russia oversteps all limits.”

The Russian ministry said that the restrictions will target 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 “Russian blacklist” will also include government officials, national lawmakers from EU member countries and journalists that are “personally responsible for promoting illegal anti-Russian sanctions, inflaming Russophobic sentiments and infringing on the rights and freedoms of Russian-speakers,” it said.

Moscow didn’t publish the list of the politicians or journalists barred from entering the country, though it is likely that the list will include all MEPs who backed last month’s resolution calling for a tougher response to Russia.

A year ago, Russia banned high-ranking officials, including the European Parliament’s then-President David Sassoli, European Commission Vice President Věra Jourová and other senior European officials from entering the country in retaliation for EU sanctions on Russia.

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