Russia said on Monday a European Union ban on Russians bringing their cars and some personal goods into the bloc was racist, and one ally of President Vladimir Putin suggested that all diplomatic relations should be severed in response.
In an explanatory note to its rules on sanctions imposed over the Ukraine war, the European Commission said Russians were temporarily barred from bringing some personal goods or vehicles into the 27-nation EU.
The annex referred to in the advice also appears to ban the import of a host of items which could be dual use alongside more mundane items such as make-up, toothpaste, deodorants, toilet paper and mobile phones.
“It’s just racism,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said of the Commission’s advice. “This is racism pure and simple.”
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the EU had just spat in the face of all Russians, saying they were being treated as “half-animals with bad heredity”.
“What should we do? Certainly not introduce retaliatory restrictions for EU citizens, we are not racists,” Medvedev said. “It would be better to simply suspend diplomatic relations with the EU for a while.”