EU Condemns Russia for Barring Entry to MEP

The European Union has condemned Russia Friday for barring entry to a European legislator.

The 28-nation bloc characterized as “unacceptable” the decision to bar entry to Rebecca Harms, a German member of European Parliament who co-chairs the Green group. The EU said Harms had checked with Russian authorities before traveling.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz denounced the treatment of Harms, calling it “a worrying setback” for relations with Russia, and said he would lodge a formal letter of protest with the Russian embassy in Brussels calling on Moscow to withdraw the decision.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels Friday, Harms said she was refused entry to Russia on Thursday despite holding a diplomatic passport. She said border guards kept her for three hours at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport and told her she had been declared persona non grata, after which she was put on a flight back to Brussels.

Harms, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, had planned to attend the trial of Nadiya Savchenko, Ukraine’s only female pilot, who is currently in a Russian jail for alleged espionage and complicty in the deaths of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine. Savchenko was captured by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine in June.

The EU has voiced concern over Savchenko’s detention.

Some information in this report was provided by Ap and AFP.

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