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EU Lawmakers Lobby Travel Ban Lift for Russian Intelligence Services' Heads

A group of European lawmakers from France, Germany, Malta, Slovenia and Italy have penned an open letter calling for the lift of travel ban for the Russian intelligence services' heads for better fight against terrorism, EUobserver reported Monday.

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated amid the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. The European Union, the United States and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russian sanctions since the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014, accusing Moscow of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. Russia has refuted any allegations of involvement and advocated for settling the conflict between Kiev forces and southeastern Ukraine's pro-independence militia peacefully.

"They [lawmakers] argue the restrictions impose security risks in the fight against terrorism," EUobserver said.

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Washington and Brussels imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and the Russian defense, energy and banking sectors in July 2014. Russia responded by introducing a year-long food embargo on imports from the United States, the European Union and other countries that targeted Russia, subsequently extending the current embargo until August 5, 2016.

The EU leaders summit is scheduled for June 28-29. Extending the EU economic sanctions against Russia, which are due to expire in July, is likely to be on the summit's agenda.

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