Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian MFA on the EU decision regarding Russian citizens

Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian MFA on the EU decision to add Russian citizens to the sanctions lists

On 21 January 2019, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a decision to take restrictive measures against Russian citizens on the pretext of their involvement in the Salisbury incident in March 2018. Thereby, our compatriots became subject to testing of a new sanctions mechanism “invented” by the European Union and ostensibly aimed at countering use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Accusations brought against Russia and our citizens under the “Skripals case” do not stand up to scrutiny. The information campaign launched by the British authorities over this case is aimed, first and foremost, at attaining domestic political goals. It is telling that the renewal of this campaign has coincided with another surge in the crisis at the Brexit talks.

We reaffirm our principled position that it is illegitimate to adopt unilateral restrictive measures bypassing the UN Security Council. We believe that the adoption and start of practical application of the above-mentioned mechanism constitute evidence of EU’s disrespect for the Convention on Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It is worth noting that among the first to enter the list of those subject to EU “chemical” restrictions were citizens of Russia and Syria, the two states which, unlike the United States, for example, have eliminated all their chemical weapons under OPCW supervision. Thus, Brussels has once again demonstrated its disregard for collectively elaborated mechanisms of international cooperation. Their substitution by illegitimate unilateral “punitive” instruments, including the assignment of attributive functions to the OPCW Technical Secretariat, is fraught with increased lawlessness in international relations and erosion of international law.

We reserve the right to take measures in response to this unfriendly action.