Putin: Khodorkovsky criticises EU’s approach to Russian leader
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Senior figures including David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, and Vera Jourova, the deputy president of the European Commission which Mrs von der Leyen leads, are on the list released by the Kremlin yesterday. A joint statement issued by Mrs von der Leyen, European Council President Mr Michel and Mr Sassoli himself said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s decision of the Russian authorities to ban eight European Union nationals from entering the Russian territory.
“This includes the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová, as well as six EU Member States’ officials.
“This action is unacceptable, lacks any legal justification and is entirely groundless. It targets the European Union directly, not only the individuals concerned.
“This decision is the latest, striking demonstration of how the Russian Federation has chosen confrontation with the EU instead of agreeing to redress the negative trajectory of our bilateral relations.
“The EU reserves the right to take appropriate measures in response to the Russian authorities’ decision.”
Mrs von der Leyen and Mr Michel subsequently tweeted the statement – but many responding by pouring scorn on their efforts.
Addressing Mrs von der Leyen, one said: “The EU and yourself are a toothless joke!”
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Another added: “Condemning words (how many times?) is insufficient with these guys.
“They’re laughing at you and us. Only action is considered.”
A third observed: “Nice words, now tough action against fascist dictator Putin please!”
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Vlad Novikov said: “Putin is betting the EU is weak and disorganized. You can (and should) prove he’s wrong.”
Responding to Mr Michel’s post, Estonian politician Kalev Kallemets, simply said: “Do something.”
Graham Mountford added: “See Charles they don’t give a monkey’s what you say, they just view you as being weak.
“Words don’t work, and I repeat myself, what is your plan B? What action are you actually going to take?”
Jan Netopil said: “The power is the only thing Putin does understand and the only way to be respected by Putin.
“We, people in Eastern Europe, do know this. You, people in Western Europe, are very naive and still want to negotiate.
“You do not understand Russian character.”
The EU’s recent attempts at diplomatic engagement with Moscow have not turned out well.
Earlier this year, during a visit to Moscow, Josep Borrell, who as High Representative is the bloc’s top diplomat, was forced to stand awkwardly on the sidelines as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the EU as an “unreliable partner”.
Consequently, more than 70 MEPs demanded his resignation.
Belgian MEP Assita Kanko asked: “I have to ask: what were you thinking? This was a disaster. Everybody said that visiting Moscow was a mistake. But you went anyway.
“You were warned that Lavrov would run rings around you. Yet you went into that press conference unprepared.
“Then you shot yourself in the foot. Twice.”
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