Chechnya leader says puts travel, bank account ban on Obama, EU officials over Ukraine
MOSCOW - Reuters
US President Barack Obama.Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed leader of Chechnya, said on Saturday he would ban entry to and freeze any bank accounts of U.S. President Barack Obama and top EU officials for bringing "tragedy" to Ukraine, in a gesture of defiance after being hit by sanctions.
After the European Union imposed sanctions over Ukraine that for the first time included the Chechen leader, Kadyrov repeated Russian statements that Washington and Brussels were responsible for plunging Ukraine into turmoil.
"The whole world has witnessed the tragedy of Libyan, Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan nations. And the Ukrainian one recently," Kadyrov said on his Instagram feed.
"Under the pretext of exporting democracy, civilians are being killed in these countries and cities and religious ties are being destroyed. The United States and the European Union bear direct responsibility for all that is happening."
Washington and Brussels have stepped up sanctions on officials close to Putin and accuse Russia of supporting rebels fighting Kiev troops in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow denies arming or financing the rebels and says the West is guilty of encouraging Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to press ahead with a military campaign against the rebels in the Russian-speaking east.
Kadyrov said that as well as Obama, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and European Council head Herman van Rompuy were banned from travelling to Chechnya as of Sunday.