BERLIN: A German deputy with strong links to Ukraine was denied access to Russian territory over the weekend, a decision slammed as “unacceptable” by Berlin on Monday.
The German foreign ministry said the government had made an official protest through the Russian embassy in Berlin.
“From the German government’s point of view, the ban on deputy Karl-Georg Wellmann is incomprehensible and unacceptable,” a German foreign ministry spokesman said.
“The German government expects this ban to be lifted,” the ministry added.
Wellmann, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU, heads up the Bundestag’s friends of Ukraine group.
He visited Ukraine in May last year as an election observer for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
He is also his party’s rapporteur for Russia within the parliament’s foreign affairs committee.
He was turned back when he arrived at Moscow airport on Sunday, despite having been invited to take part in political discussions, media reports said Monday.
The Russian authorities put him back on a plane for Berlin and slapped an entry ban on him until 2019, according to the reports.
“It looks like the Russians have drawn up a list of sanctions, in response to the sanctions imposed by the European Union,” over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, Wellmann told the Focus weekly.
He added that he was targeted for his role as parliamentary rapporteur.
The 28-nation EU slapped economic sanctions on Moscow in July 2014 over its perceived support for pro-Russian separatist forces in Ukraine.