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Finnish MEP on new Russian blacklist

Finnish Green League European Parliament Member Heidi Hautala has confirmed to Yle that her name is on a blacklist of European Union politicians barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.

Heidi Hautala
Heidi Hautala says she is not surprised her name is on the Russian blacklist. Image: Martti Kainulainen / Yle

Moscow drew up the list of 89 names in response to the EU's own sanctions and travel bans over Russia's annexation of Crimea last year and its alleged involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala told Yle that she is "not the least bit" surprised that her name is on the list.

She added that it is futile to speculate why she has been barred from Russia, but believes that the names on the blacklist represent European politicians who have take outspokenly critical positions on the crisis in Ukraine.

"Of course, I have a long history of being somehow marked by the Kremlin for many years, beginning with the Politkovskaya murder in 2006 on which I took a strong stand," said Hautala.

Hautala does not believe that the timing of the blacklist is accidental. She pointed out that EU member states will very soon be preparing a decision on extending sanctions over Ukraine, and this, in her view, is an attempt to pressure the European Union.

Hautala, 59, is a former MP, Greens chair, presidential candidate and Minister for International Development and ownership steering issues.

The Finnish Foreign Ministry says it is unaware of the basis for Hautala being blacklisted.

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