Ukraine denounced Czech MEP Miroslaw Ransdorf’s trip to Crimea on Friday (19 June) as “discrediting” to the European Parliament. The Commission said it was up to national authorities to take action in cases which contravene EU sanctions on the Russian territory.
According to the Prague Post, Ransdorf has been invited to Crimea by a media club called “Format-a3” to present his views on the Ukrainian crisis, for which he blames the United States. The club has announced his visit, presenting him as “a representative of Czech intellectuals with a penetrating mind” and as an opponent to NATO.
Ransdorf reportedly confirmed on Tuesday that he was planning to go to Crimea to lecture on the European Union. He said he was going to give his lecture on 18 June in Simferopol.
Ransdorf’s office in the European Parliament did not respond, and EURACTIV is unable to confirm if the MEP has effectively left for Crimea.
Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the EU, called on European Parliament President Martin Schulz to respond “appropriately” to the scheduled visit.
“It is obvious that this visit does not represent the official position of the European Union, but it will be actively used by Russian occupying authorities and propagandists for their own purposes,” Yelisieiev warned.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Crimea and Sevastopol, a Russian naval base before the annexation of March 2014. These include the prohibition of imports, of investment, of tourism services and of the export of certain goods and technical services. Visits of officials and public lectures are not specified.
EURACTIV asked the Commission to comment if officials of EU countries could visit occupied Crimea, and if there would be sanctions against them in the event of such visits.
The Commission gave a longish answer, the essence of which is that the implementation of the details of the sanctions is in the hands of member states. However, it is not clear if politicians are indeed banned from visiting Crimea and particpating to public events on the penisula.
EURACTIV also asked the Parliament it would like to commeont on the protest by the Ukrainian ambassador. This article will be updated as soon as the answer arrives.
Ransdorf first become known in 2013 when a journalist filmed him checking in for work in the Parliament at 18.00 and leaving five minutes later, only to claim his daily allowance, and becoming aggressive when he realized he was being recorded.