News |

Foreign Minister Soini plays down Russian blacklist, says it's "no surprise"

Finland’s freshly-minted Foreign Minister Timo Soini has sought to calm concerns over a travel ban imposed by Russia on several European political figures, including Greens MEP Heidi Hautala. Writing in his blog Soini said that the move by Russia "was not a big surprise" and should not be "over-dramatised".

Timo Soini
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini. Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

Fledging Foreign Minister Timo Soini said that it was "pointless to over-dramatise" the travel blacklist issued by Russia Thursday. The list names a number of senior figures on the European scene who have been barred from entering Russia and includes Finnish Green League MEP Heidi Hautala.

"It’s a predictable reaction to the travel ban placed on Russian citizens. It’s no big surprise," Soini wrote in his blog, referring to the decision by the EU and the US to block certain high-ranking Russian citizens from traveling to their territories as a reprisal for Russia’s perceived role in the crisis in Ukraine.

On Friday, Hautala commented that the individuals on the Russian blacklist mostly represented European politicians who strongly opposed Russia’s actions in the situation in Ukraine.

"Heidi Hautala has offered her own views on the list and I believe her comments are accurate and restrained, and I don’t have anything to add," Soini continued.

On Thursday the Kremlin sent the EU a list of 89 politicians who had been slapped with the travel ban prohibiting them from entering Russia. The blacklist has been widely seen as a counter-attack for the range of sanctions imposed on Moscow by the west over the situation in Ukraine.

Hautala is the only Finn on the list, which names 13 politicians from the Nordics; eight of them are from Sweden.

Latest in: News


Our picks