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MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Russia imposed its entry ban on those European politicians and military leaders who actively supported last February’s state coup in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"We did not want to make the list public," Lavrov said. "We naturally could not break the main law of international relations - the principle of mutuality. And when the European Union introduced restrictions on 150 Russian citizens, we acted in a similar way but targeted a much smaller number of EU citizens. We did not want to follow the EU’s bad example and turn the disclosure of these names into a loud campaign."
"We simply informed our EU partners that we also have a sanctions list, but we will not make it public and will not hand it to Brussels to avoid stirring up a scandal," he said. "But we asked the European Commission to notify those parliamentary, political and social functionaries from EU countries planning to visit Russia that they should enquire in Russian consulates in their country if they were allowed to travel with documents they had, whether it was a diplomatic passport or an open visa or their visa was closed."
"We handed over this list at the EU’s request on a confidential basis and it was immediately leaked to the press," Lavrov said. "The European Union, which usually withholds comments, was happy to comment on it. I perceive it as a certain violation of ethical norms."
On Saturday, the EU mission in Moscow announced that it had received a list of 89 EU politicians, diplomats and military officials barred from entering Russia. The EU External Action Service said the list was "unjustified."
Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia's parliament, the Federation Council, said the leak of the Russian blacklist, which comes in response to the European similar list, is aimed at escalating tensions and the information was leaked "on purpose."
He said this step is aimed at "aggravating this situation to the uttermost" and "trying to present this situation to people inexperienced in these problems as Russia’s unilateral and unjustified act."
The official noted that the leak of this information is not a normal practice.
"These lists as far as I know were handed over to the EU representatives with the warning that they are of a non-public character," Kosachev said. He stressed that the EU officials "are not acting like partners" and called on them to apologize for this incident.
In comments to the release of the blacklist, Kosachev reminded that it is not Russia that has initiated this. He also said any blacklists are "senseless and have no prospect."
"The sooner they are canceled by the European Union, the sooner we will resume normal cooperation," Kosachev stressed, adding that Russia would not beg anyone to abolish these lists.