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HELSINKI, June 2. /TASS/. Finland may discuss with Russia the so-called blacklist of Finnish citizens barred from entry to Russia later this week, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said on Tuesday.
"Consultations between the two countries’ foreign ministries are to be held this week. This issue is likely to be raised," he told a news conference.
He also said he might discuss this matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their next conversation.
The Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat said on Friday Finnish delegate to the European Parliament Heidi Hautala had been listed among those who were denied entry to Russia.
Meanwhile, Finland’s new Foreign Minister Timo Soini said the situation over the Russian blacklist should not be overdramatized, since it had been quite an expected measure. He said the Finnish side had not discussed this issue with Russia. Moreover, this issue had not been discussed with foreign ministers of the European Union, he said, adding that this was not a sound reason to convene an emergency meeting of EU representatives.
He said this blacklist should be discussed at the EU level rather than in bilateral formats, since it was applicable to many European countries.
The so-called blacklist of 89 European Union citizens barred from entering Russia was handed over by the Russian side to a number of European diplomatic missions upon their request, and later this data was published by Western media.
On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov said that the Russian stop list had been devised in response to the European visa ban more than a year ago. "Unlike Europeans, who compiled their list in an arbitrary way to include, for instance, the entire management of the Association of Knights of the French Legion of Honour in Russia. Some of names was simply taken from tabloid publications. Companies put on the list are the most competitive ones in world markets. This brings up the question why they have been blacklisted," he said.
"Our list has been carefully considered. Naturally, I will not disclose the mechanism of making decisions but we have decided on each of the candidates individually and clearly formulated why these individuals have been put on the stop list," Meshkov added.