The European Union deplores the decision of the Russian authorities to ban a number of EU nationals, including officials of the EU and from the member states, as well as members of the European Parliament and member states’ Parliaments, from entering the territory of the Russian Federation in retaliation for EU sanctions linked to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on April 1.
“The European Union sanctions respond to the military aggression by Russia against Ukraine. They aim at bringing to an end those illegal and destructive actions,” Borrell said.
Unlike Russian countersanctions, the EU restrictive measures are transparently published and based on clear criteria, including legal ways how to challenge them, he said.
The EU continues to demand that Russia ceases this aggression and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.
“Russia bears full responsibility for this war of aggression against Ukraine and will be held accountable for crimes committed in its course,” Borrell said.
In a statement on March 31, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said: “The restrictions apply to the top leadership of the EU, a number of European commissioners and heads of EU military bodies, as well as the overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament that have advanced anti-Russian policies.
“The reciprocal Russian blacklist also includes high-level officials including government and parliament members of some EU Member States, public and media figures who are personally responsible for promoting illegal anti-Russian sanctions, inflaming Russophobic sentiments and infringing on the rights and freedoms of Russian-speakers,” the Foreign Ministry in Moscow said.
Also on April 1, Borrell slammed Russia’s conscription campaign in the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
“This is another serious violation of international humanitarian law, by which Russia remains bound,” Borrell said.
The drafting of all eligible men, including Crimean Tatars, in the illegally annexed Crimea is particularly cynical, as they are forced to engage directly in Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, he said.
“The EU does not and will not recognise the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol,” Borrell said.
“The EU demands Russia to immediately stop its military aggression, immediately and to unconditionally withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine,” he said.
(Photo: Pietro Naj Oleari)
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