Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

3 Jun, 2015

Russia to expand EU travel ban list if West increases sanctions

MOSCOW, June 1 (Xinhua) — Moscow is ready to expand its travel ban list of European Union (EU) officials if the West increases its own blacklist of Russian officials, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Moscow will cancel its travel ban list as soon as the West does the same, said Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the ministry, adding that Russia’s blacklist is a “forced” response to the sanctions imposed by the EU and the United States.

“We shall mirror any changes (made by the West on anti-Russia sanctions). This is called the principle of reciprocity,” Zakharova said in a radio interview.

“We cannot let ourselves be treated in a completely biased and actually unmotivated way,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Moscow would not be the first one to “widen the spiral (of a sanction war between Russia and the West).”

Lavrov accused the EU of describing Russia’s blacklist as randomly-decided without any grounds.

“This is an attempt to replace the international law by one’s own political interests,” Tass news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

He claimed that the travel ban against EU officials targeted active supporters of “coup d’etat in Ukraine,” which happened last February and led to the prolonged crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov also said Monday that the Russian side has deliberated over the travel ban list.

Concrete reasons could be given on why these individuals have been included, he said, while refusing to reveal the decision-making mechanism.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Saturday that a list of EU citizens was banned from entering Russia in response to the EU’s sanctions imposed on certain Russian individuals over the Ukraine crisis.