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BRUSSELS, September 26. /ITAR-TASS/. Moscow has denied an entry visa to MEP Rebecca Harms regardless of the investigation over the Ukrainian citizen Nadezhda Savchenko, a Ukrainian army serviceman facing a trial in Russia for her wrongdoings, Vladimir Chizhov, the ambassador to the EU told a group of Russian reporters here Friday.
He said Harms was on Russia’s tit-for-tat list of EU deputies and officials who were banned from entering Russia.
“The situation is that Ms. Rebecca Harms, who is a member of European Parliament representing Germany and a co-chairperson of the Greens caucus, decided to go to Moscow and to take part in the court trial of Nadezhda Savchenko, a senior lieutenant of the Ukrainian Air Force charged with espionage and involvement in the activities that resulted in the death of Russian reporters,” Ambassador Chizhov said.
“The fact that Ms. Harms used a German diplomatic passport while she was actually going to make the trip as a private individual she didn’t have a mandate from the European Parliament as far as I know - remains on her head,” he said.
As a holder of a diplomatic passport, Harms did have the power to enter Russia without a visa and that is why she did not apply for it.
“If she had used a different passport and had applied for a visa, she’d have received a denial,” Chizhov said. “Moscow has prohibited her entries of the Russian territory - without any connection to the Savchenko case but as a reciprocal measure introduced after the EU had placed a big enough group of members of the Russian parliament on its blacklists.”
“On a purely human level, one can only regret Ms. Harms had to spend some time at Sheremetyevo /one of Moscow’s international airports - Itar-Tass/ before being put on a return flight but to tell you frankly, her stay there wasn’t very long, just three and a half hours,” the ambassador said.
He pointed out an emotional reaction to the event on the part of the EU’s foreign policy service and the European Parliament including its President Martin Schultz who described the very facto of a denial of entry to a MEP totally inadmissible.
“I can only say to this that the EU’s decision to ban entry visas to a group of members of Russian parliament is even more inadmissible because it was a bluntly political measure while the Russian stop list is a purely retaliatory step,” Chizhov said.
“Some people ask why these lists haven’t been made public,” he said. “Well, that’s part of our practice in this case. But if Ms. Harms had asked me personally or members of my staff, we’d have recommended her to refrain from this trip.