Nick Clegg, British ex-deputy PM, banned from entering Russia

Putin and Clegg

British former deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg has been named on a “stop list” of 89 European politicians and military leaders banned from entering Russia, the Mail Online has reported.

Among those featured on the confidential list, compiled by the Russian foreign ministry, are outspoken critics of Russia as well as military and intelligence officials.
But the move, which has been seen as an attack on the European Union, has angered Europe and worsened the standoff with the West over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine conflict.
The European Union has responded angrily to Russia’s entry ban against 89 European politicians, officials and military leaders.
The foreign ministry compiled the list, which has been seen by Reuters, and handed it to the EU’s ambassador in Moscow this week.
A similar list exists for United States citizens, a ministry official has revealed. The list appears to be a backlash against economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU.
Scores of Russian and Ukrainian citizens and organisations have been slammed by visa bands and asset freezes, since Russian annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in March last year.
But Moscow has denied accusations from the West that it is acting in support of pro-Russian separatists battling government forces in Ukraine, where more than 6,200 people have been killed in fighting.
The disclosure comes after a number of EU politicians had travelled to Russia, only to be told at the border that they were being refused entry.
After repeated requests from the EU, the Russian authorities finally handed over the list but revealed no further information or clarification.
‘The Russian authorities have not provided any legal basis for the list or for the names on it,’ a Foreign Office spokesperson said.
“If Russia thinks this action will cause the EU to change its position on sanctions, it is wrong.
“The way for Russia to get the sanctions lifted is to remove its troops from Ukraine and comply with its obligations under the Minsk agreements.
“The EU and member states are urgently seeking more transparency from the Russian authorities for this move.’’
A Russian Foreign Ministry official confirmed to Russian media that lists of banned individuals had been sent to EU states, but would not reveal why these individuals have been targeted.
‘The answer to the demands of several European states, why is was precisely these people who entered into the list…is simple: it was done in answer to the sanctions campaign which has been waged in relation to Russia by several states of the European Union headed by Germany,’ the anonymous official was quoted as saying by news agency TASS.
“An analogous list exists in relation to the citizens of the U.S., however one needs to note that in this case the Americans are behaving more constructively than the Europeans,” he added.
Former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholoas Houghton, Defence Minister Philip Dunne and former defence minister Andrew Robathan are also understood to be among those barred from the country.
The current secretary general of the EU council in Brussels, Uwe Corsepius, who is due to take over as foreign affairs advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is also among those listed.
Others named include Bruno Le Roux, the leader of President Francois Hollande’s Socialists in parliament, and former Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt, who heads the Liberal group in the European Parliament.
Poland has 18 names on the list, as the sternest EU critic of Russia’s policy towards Ukraine.
“For some time we’ve seen that Russia is not necessarily trying to mitigate tensions but rather strengthen them,” a spokesperson for Poland’s government told Reuters.
Last Monday, Germany protested to Russia over its refusal to let a conservative German lawmaker, Karl-Georg Wellmann, who had called Russia a ‘warmonger’ earlier this year, into the country.
Other countries with names on the list include Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and Spain.

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