Russia bans more European Union officials
Moscow, Jan 29: Russia has added a number of European Union officials to a list of people barred from entering the country as a tit-for-tat response to restrictions imposed on Moscow by Brussels.
"Guided by the principle of reciprocity and parity, the Russian side decided to expand a list of representatives of EU member states and institutions who are prohibited from entering Russia," a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
Russia blacklisted the heads of some European private military firms, some members of security services, EU lawmakers and other Mofficials who are "personally responsible for promoting anti-Russian policies," according to a statement on the Ministry's website.
The Foreign Ministry did not disclose the number of people involved or their names.
The EU reacted on Friday by saying that it "deplored" the new sanctions by Russia.
"The European Union deplores the decision by Russian authorities... to ban an unknown number of representatives of EU member states and institutions from entry into Russia," an EU spokesperson said.
"This decision lacks any legal justification and transparency and will meet an appropriate response," the statement added.
The ban comes amid heightened tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.
The West has warned Moscow of a coordinated response if it launches an attack on neighboring Ukraine.