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Steinmeier in Ukraine expresses criticism over Russia's visa blacklist

During his visit to eastern Ukraine, Steinmeier has criticized Russia over its blacklist of European politicians. He has also met aid organizations in Ukraine and promised more German support for Ukrainian refugees.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized

Russia for imposing travel restrictions

on 89 EU politicians, during his visit to east Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.

He said Moscow's move was not "particularly clever," German news agency DPA quoted him as saying. He added that the list represented a further Russian provocation

of the conflict in Ukraine.

"At a time when we are trying to defuse a bitter and dangerous conflict in the heart of Europe, this does not help," Steinmeier said in a statement during his visit.

An EU foreign affairs spokeswoman said Russia had denied entry to a number of EU politicians based on their inclusion on the previously confidential "stop list."

"We consider this measure as totally arbitrary and unjustified, especially in the absence of any further clarification and transparency," she said.

The German government complained Saturday and said it expected Russia to publish the list along with an explanation. Steinmeier also said earlier in Berlin that the people on the list have a right to know why they have been included so they can take legal action, the DPA reported.

Germany offering more helps to Ukraine

Meanwhile, on the trip to Ukraine, Steinmeier also said Germany will offer more aid for the many refugees that have been driven from their homes as a result of the ongoing conflict in the country's east.

During his visit to a refugee camp in the industrial city, Steinmeier said the German government will "continue to provide further support," DPA quotes him as saying.

Steinmeier also met aid organizations, including Red Cross and Caritas in eastern Ukraine.

An estimated 2 million people have fled the fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces. Some 1.2 million have remained in Ukraine.

The

Ukraine crisis

has brought relations between the West and Russia to the lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

ra/sms (dpa, Reuters)

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