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Moscow extends blacklist of UK officials banned from Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A traffic light is pictured in front of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters in Moscow, Russia, on December 22, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Russia has imposed sanctions against a number of UK officials in response to recent restrictive measures taken by the British government against Russian citizens over the case of opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that in a tit-for-tat response to "unconstructive and unfriendly" actions by the UK, it had decided to expand the number of British citizens who are denied entry to the Russian Federation over "their complicity in anti-Russian sanctions."

The decision was made after the UK imposed "unreasonable restrictive measures" against Russian citizens over what London called involvement in the alleged poisoning of Navalny, the ministry added.

British Ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert arrived at the ministry earlier in the day and was officially notified of the measures, the ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry recently summoned German, French, and Swedish representatives in "connection with the introduction of EU anti-Russian sanctions."

EU foreign ministers had agreed in October to back a French-German proposal to impose sanctions on several Russian military intelligence officials over Navalny's case.

Navalny, 44, collapsed during a domestic Russian flight on August 20 and was taken to a local hospital. He was airlifted to Berlin on August 22. Navalny's aides claimed he had been poisoned after drinking a bottle of water at a hotel before the flight.

On September 2, Germany claimed without evidence that the Russian opposition figure had been poisoned with Novichok, the same nerve agent that the British government claims was used on Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury in March 2018.

The Russian doctors who tested Navalny's blood for poisoning before he was moved to Germany said at the time that the test results had come back negative.

And Russia has denied involvement in any attack on Navalny.

Western governments have nevertheless been attacking Russia with accusations that it poisoned Navalny.

The Russian opposition figure was discharged from a Berlin hospital in September.

Germany has rejected a request by Russian prosecutors to provide Navalny's medical records for a comparative study of his condition.

Russia believes the case was made up to create a pretext for the introduction of a new round of unilateral sanctions against Moscow.

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