8 Estonians on Russian 'black list' ({{commentsTotal}})

Eight top-level Estonian politicians and officials are on the list of 89 EU citizens banned by Russia from entering the country.

The EU confirmed the existence of the list on Saturday with foreign media publishing the 89 names on the list, which can be found here (in German). Many on list are outspoken critics of the Kremlin's politics and a number have been turned away from entering Russia in recent months.

The Estonians on the list are Chief of Defense Forces Riho Terras, deputy Commander-in-Chief Artur Tiganik, Internal Security Service Chief Arnold Sinisalu, and Meelis Kiili, the head of the Defense League, the voluntary defense force.

Justice Minister and outgoing IRL Chairman Urmas Reinsalu, MEP Tunne Kelam and former FM Kristiina Ojuland are also on the list, as is Andres Parve, a former Defense Industry Association head.

Finland only has one member on the list in Kremlin critic Heidi Hautala. Hautala told Finnish media that one reason for the list could lie in the fact that debate on sanctions against Russia will be opened up again soon.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that Russia sent the list to EU members on Thursday, but asked for the names not to be made public. He said Russia gave no reasoning behind the list or for any concrete names.

Besides the eight Estonians and one Finn, the list has five Latvians and seven Lithuanians. Denmark (four), Sweden (eight), the Netherlands (three), Poland (18), Germany (seven), Belgium (two), Bulgaria (one), Spain (two), the UK (nine), the Czech Republic (four), France (four), Romania (five) and Greece (one) are also represented.

The EU has its own list of 150 Russians and Ukrainians banned from entering the union for their role in the Ukraine conflict.

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it will decide soon whether to ask Russia for a clarification.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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