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Russia strikes back at EU over Navalny-fueled sanctions

Moscow will expand the list of EU countries’ representatives who are prohibited from entering Russia

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. In the light of the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions over the blogger Alexey Navalny case Russia has made a decision to expand the retaliatory list of EU representatives who are prohibited from entering Russia, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry dismissed as "categorically unacceptable" the introduction of illegal restrictive measures (initiated by the EU’s leading member-states) against a number of Russians on the pretext of their alleged involvement in the Navalny case.

"The countries that initiated this measure presented no evidence either to the Russian authorities, in defiance of repeated requests dispatched to them, or to their own partners in the EU. Under the veil of secrecy the EU Council adopted a hasty confrontational political decision running counter to the international legal prerogatives of the UN Security Council and the Helsinki principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs, cooperation among states and diligent compliance with obligations assumed under international law. The concrete names were selected arbitrarily to match the EU Council’s decision in question," the Foreign Ministry said.

"In connection with the aforesaid and in accordance with the principle of retaliation a decision has been made to expand the list of EU countries’ representatives who are prohibited from entering Russia. The persons on the list are responsible for stepping up anti-Russian sanction activity in the European Union," the Foreign Ministry stated.

The chiefs of German, French and Swedish diplomatic missions were handed the corresponding verbal notes. Such a note was dispatched to the office of the EU mission in Moscow, too.

"We confirm that unfriendly steps by Western countries will continue to entail an adequate response," the Foreign Ministry said.

On October 15, the EU included in its Navalny case-related sanction list the director of the federal security service FSB Alexander Bortnikov, first deputy chief of the presidential staff, Sergey Kiriyenko, chief of the presidential staff’s domestic policy directorate, Andrey Yarin, deputy defense ministers Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov and presidential representative in the Siberian Federal District, Sergey Menyailo.