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ROME, May 31. /TASS/. Italy wants Russia to clarify the criteria it uses when banning European citizens to enter the country, the Italian foreign ministry said on Sunday.
"It is absolutely unclear which reasons and criteria are used to make this blacklist. Hence, it hinders the resumption of dialogue between the European Union and Russia Italy has been insistently standing for," the ministry said.
According to western media, a blacklist of 89 persons has been referred by the Russian side to a number of European diplomatic missions in Russia. On May 30, a top-ranking source in the Russian foreign ministry confirmed these reports.
"We would like to refrain from comments on the names of people who were barred from entering the Russian Federation, although [their surnames] appeared in some media outlets," the source said. "At the same time, we confirm that such lists have been handed to our European partners."
He reminded that Russia had recommended that before planning visits to Russia citizens of those countries which imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation should contact Russian consular services to make sure they were not banned from entering the country. "However, our partners preferred not to do so and asked to notify them through diplomatic channels," he said. "So, the above-mentioned lists were sent to them."
"[The lists] were handed to our European partners as a gesture of trust and their publication may weigh on the conscience of corresponding sides," he said. "Just one thing remains unclear: did our European co-workers want these lists to minimize inconveniences for potential ‘denied persons’ or to stage another political show?" he said.
Restrictions on entry to Russia have been introduced exceptionally as a reciprocal step to the EU actions, he said. "An answer to some European countries demanding to explain why these names have been put on the lists of persons banned from entering Russia is quite simple - this was done as a response to a sanctions campaign unleashed against Russia by some Germany-led countries of the European Union," he said commenting on the reports that certain European capitals had demanded explanations from Moscow over the blacklisted personalities.