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EU Summons Russian Ambassador Over Retaliatory Sanctions

Russia barred entry to eight EU officials in response to sanctions from the bloc over abuses including the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.  Zuma / TASS

The European Union summoned the Russian ambassador on Monday after Moscow put eight EU nationals, including top Brussels officials, on a blacklist in retaliation for sanctions by the bloc. 

Moscow's envoy was to meet senior officials from the European Commission and the EU's diplomatic service later in the afternoon, EU spokesman Peter Stano said.

"These counter sanctions are obviously very politically motivated and lack any legal justification," Stano said.

"We will convey to him strong condemnation and rejection of this decision."

On Friday, Russia barred entry to eight officials from the EU — European Parliament president David Sassoli and commission vice-president Vera Jourova were among them — in response to sanctions from the bloc over abuses, including the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. 

European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, European Council boss Charles Michel and Sassoli condemned Moscow's measures as "groundless" in a joint statement on Friday and threatened "to take appropriate measures in response."

The latest row with the Kremlin comes as tensions between the bloc and Russia have surged over Ukraine, Navalny and the tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats involving a number of EU members state. 

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