Alexey Pushkov, chairman of the Russian State Duma'as Foreign Affairs Committee, invited an EP delegation to come to Moscow and pledged to take care of visas for European lawmakers.
Alexei Pushkov
© RIA/Scanpix

He made the pledge during a meeting of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs in Strasbourg on Monday night after being criticized by committee members for Russia's refusal to let an EP delegation led by Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis in.

„I would like to invite a group of EP members to come as you are criticizing us for our previous behaviour. Our delegation visited Strasbourg last March and now it's your turn to come to Moscow. It would be a pleasure for me to receive you in Moscow, therefore, please, contact me, if you are interested, and I will make arrangements for you to receive visas," Pushkov said.

Speaking with European lawmakers, he also underlined that Russia was not the one who started "this game" of blacklisting people.

It was reported in January that Russia refused to let the Landsbergis-led delegation come to Moscow. In October, the Lithuanian MEP was commissioned by the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs to draft a report on EU-Russian relations. He planned to collect documentation for the report in Moscow on 29-31 January.

Landsbergis is reserved about Pushkov's invitation.

"I haven't had the opportunity to hear what he had in mind when he said he would issue visas. He does not issue visas, visas are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its representatives in Brussels said very clearly that visas would not be issued to the delegation and the delegation would not be able to come," Landsbergis told BNS on Monday night.

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