(l-r): Daria Navalny, her brother Zakhar, her father, the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and his wife Yulia take a selfie in Berlin’s Charite hospital

Russia has imposed entry bans on representatives of the German government, the charge d’affaires of the German embassy in Moscow, Beate Grzeski, was told on Tuesday.

The announcement was made during a conversation in the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Office in Berlin told dpa. No names of those affected were disclosed.

Moscow is reacting to the sanctions imposed by the European Union on high-ranking Russian officials for the poisoning of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny.

Russia summoned the heads of the French, German and Swedish embassies to its Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the Navalny case, state media reported.

The European Union imposed sanctions against several senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin in October after laboratories in France, Germany and Sweden determined Navalny had been poisoned with the chemical weapon Novichok.

Russian officials have said they have obtained no hard evidence to support the poisoning allegation.

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The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the sanctions in a statement on Tuesday as “illegitimate,” “absolutely unacceptable” and based on a “pretext.”

“The countries that initiated this step have failed to provide any evidence on the case, both to the Russian authorities, despite the latters’ repeated requests, and to their own EU partners,” the statement said.

Navalny, 44, fell violently ill while on a commercial airliner en route from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow in August. The plane made an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, where Navalny was treated initially. He was medically evacuated to Berlin two days later.

The EU’s sanctions included Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor agency of the Soviet KGB. Navalny says the FSB was directly responsible for the attempted murder.

DPA

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