European Union summons Russian ambassador in diplomatic spat

Brussels, May 3, (dpa/GNA) - The European Union has summoned the Russian ambassador after Moscow barred eight European politicians from entering the country.

"We will convey to him strong condemnation and rejection of this decision," European Commission foreign affairs spokesperson Peter Stano told reporters in Brussels.

Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov would be received by senior EU officials in a meeting expected to take place later Monday, he said.

Russia last week banned the politicians in response to sanctions issued by the bloc, which Moscow deems "illegitimate unilateral sanctions."

Among those banned from entering Russia are European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova.

The EU and United States have taken a flurry of measures against Moscow recently, from the expulsion of diplomats and entry bans to economic sanctions.

Ties between the EU and Russia have become increasingly tense, with EU diplomats accusing Russia of serious human rights breaches and Russia, in turn, blaming the bloc of political interference.

Stano condemned Russia's actions as "groundless," as there was "no legal explanation for such a decision whatsoever."

"This all shows that Russia is determined to continue the hostile track of confrontations," Stano said. "The EU will be reacting to it."