Moscow blasts EU ‘witch hunt’ against Russian figures

Moscow blasts EU ‘witch hunt’ against Russian figures
Fecha de publicación: 
3 June 2015
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"The witch hunt against Russians has begun," Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday, adding, "What's next? Ecclesiastical trials of Russian diplomats followed by burning at the stake in Brussels?"

Zakharova further called for an explanation from officials in Brussels over the controversial restrictive measure imposed against the Russian figures.

Meanwhile, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian upper house's foreign affairs committee, criticized the 28-nation bloc for its double standards and urged Russian officials to respond to Brussels’ decision with new “symmetrical or asymmetrical” retaliatory actions.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz gives a press conference at the European
Parliamentin Brussels, May 28, 2015. (© AFP)

The remarks came one day after European Parliament President Martin Schulz announced that he was limiting access to the assembly to Vladimir Chizhov, the Russian ambassador to the EU, and another Russian diplomat, citing Russia's alleged failure to explain the reason behind its latest bans against European politicians. 

According to a statement released by Schulz's office, members of the Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, as well as the Federation Council, the upper house, will only be granted access to the European parliament  “on a case-by-case basis."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (© AFP)

On May 29, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Moscow had issued a blacklist of politicians from the EU, barring them from traveling to the Russian Federation.

The Kremlin had reportedly prepared the list in retaliation against the bans imposed by the 28-nation bloc on Moscow over Crimea’s decision to join Russia in a 2014 referendum as well as the Kremlin’s alleged involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian blacklist consists of 89 names, according to a letter from Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, which was tweeted by Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks near a position on the frontline near Ukraine’s eastern
region of Donetsk, May 30, 2015. (© AFP)

Over the past months, Russia has been targeted by a series of sanctions by Brussels and Washington, who accuse Moscow of supporting pro-Russia forces in Ukraine's volatile eastern provinces.

However, the Kremlin has rejected the claims and slapped restrictions on some food imports from the US, the EU, Norway, Australia and Canada in a tit-for-tat move.

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