Kremlin Puts Clegg On Travel Ban Blacklist

Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1493495/kremlin-puts-clegg-on-travel-ban-blacklist

Sunday 31 May 2015

The former deputy PM is among those barred by Russia in response to EU sanctions against Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

04:29, UK,Sunday 31 May 2015

Nick Clegg

The ex-Lib Dem leader was critical of Russia when in office

Former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is among nearly 90 European figures on a secret Russian “stop list” banned from entering the country.

Other names reported to be blacklisted by the Kremlin include the former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Defence Minister Philip Dunne and former defence minister Andrew Robathan.

They are joined by MI5 director general Andrew Parker and the former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers on what appears to be a leaked version of the list that has appeared online.

Russia travel ban list

Andrew Robathan and Sir Malcolm Rifkind are also on the list

The disclosure comes after a number of EU politicians tried to travel to the country in recent months, only to be told at the border they could not enter Russia because they were on the list.

The list was handed to the EU’s ambassador by the Moscow authorities earlier this week after repeated requests.

The move has been condemned by the Foreign Office, which said there was “absolutely no justification” for it.

The measure will be widely seen as a response to EU sanctions against Russia over its support for separatist rebels fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine.

An EU spokesman said: “The list with 89 names has now been shared by the Russian authorities.

“We don’t have any other information on legal basis, criteria and process of this decision.

“We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency.

“We are keeping in close contact with the member states involved.”

The Foreign Office said the existence of the list would not affect EU sanctions.

“There is absolutely no justification for this list.

“And the Russian authorities have not provided any legal basis for the list or for the names on it,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman 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.”

Mr Clegg has been an outspoken critic of Russia, with Lib Dem ministers snubbing last year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi because of the country’s anti-gay laws.

He also argued Russia should lose the right to host the 2018 World Cup following the downing of a civilian airliner in eastern Ukraine last July, with the loss of 298 lives.

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