“As far as I know, the list includes Europe’s key politicians. I can only be glad that my foreign policy advisor has been included along such famous names. (…) It’s a great appreciation,” Grybauskaitė told journalists in Vilnius on Monday.
According to foreign media reports, all in all, there are 89 EU politicians and officials, including seven Lithuanians, on the Moscow list. Besides Neliupšienė, former Lithuanian leader Vytautas Landsbergis, ex-Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, Artūras Paulauskas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defence, former head of Lithuania’s State Security Department Gediminas Grina, MEP Petras Auštrevičius and Edmundas Vaitekūnas, chairman of the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania, are also on Russia’s blacklist.
It comes as Moscow’s response to EU sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Ukraine’s region of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference on Monday the measures “targeted persons who actively supported the coup in Ukraine”, having in mind pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s departure from the country during the mass protests last year.
Lavrov also called the EU’s reproach over the list absurd, saying that it’s not Moscow’s limited response to Western sanctions.
Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Monday the list was part of the ongoing propaganda war.
“I think it does nothing good for bilateral relations or simply decisions made between the European Union and Russia. I believe it does nothing good in terms of trust,” Butkevicius told journalists in Vilnius.