STOCKHOLM: Sweden summoned Russia’s ambassador to Stockholm on Saturday, denouncing Moscow for sanctioning European Union officials including a Swedish researcher in an escalating row between Russia and the West.
The announcement came a day after Moscow barred eight EU officials from entering Russia — itself a retaliation to European Council sanctions over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a violent police response to protests in his support.
Swedish foreign ministry spokesman Mats Samuelsson told AFP that the Russian ambassador was being summoned “to express our protests regarding the Russian measures”. “Unlike the EU sanctions... Russia’s sanctions are arbitrary, legally unclear and are the expression of political motives,” the ministry said.
Among those barred from Russia was Asa Scott, the head of a laboratory specialising in toxic substances of the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) who helped confirm that Navalny was poisoned by the Soviet-era Novichok nerve toxin last year.
The FOI’s director-general Jens Mattsson said that “it is completely unacceptable that Russia is imposing unfounded sanctions against a researcher doing her job”.