France granted Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev an entry visa, the ministry said yesterday (23 May), even though he is on a European Union list of Russians banned from entering the bloc after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
It was not immediately clear why France made an exception for the minister, who headed a Russian delegation to an assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris that started on Sunday.
Germany refused him an entry visa in January.
Some politicians in France have voiced support in favour of lifting sanctions against Russia.
Last month, France’s lower house of parliament voted in favour of lifting European Union sanctions against Russia in a non-binding vote that went against the Socialist government’s recommendation.
Tkachev’s name was added to a list of Russian individuals banned from entering the European Union in mid-2014, when he was the head of Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, because he was awarded a medal “for the liberation of Crimea” by the acting head of Crimea for the support he provided.
The growing frustration of European farmers with the sanction regime has prompted national politicians to undermine the EU’s position on Russia, Julius Lorenzen, a correspondent with ARC2020 recently wrote.
In response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against the Russian Federation.
Asset freezes and visa bans apply to 149 persons while 37 entities are subject to a freeze of their assets in the EU. This includes persons and entities responsible for action against Ukraine's territorial integrity, persons providing support to or benefitting Russian decision-makers and 13 entities in Crimea and Sevastopol that were confiscated or that have benefitted from a transfer of ownership contrary to Ukrainian law.
As part of the EU's non-recognition policy of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the EU has imposed substantial restrictions on economic exchanges with this territory. [Read more]
- European Commission: EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis
- European Council: EU restrictive measures in response to the crisis in Ukraine