The Baltic state’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergs, told reporters Thursday that prominent opposition figure and journalist Ksenia Sobchak was allowed to enter Lithuania because she is not on the country’s blacklist of Russian public figures. She entered the EU country as an Israeli citizen.
The reality TV host and former presidential candidate fled Russia to Lithuania amid an extortion investigation against one of her employees. Sobchak himself has also been named a suspect, RT reported, citing a source.
Landsbergs explained that using her Israeli passport, Sobchak can legally stay in the EU for up to 90 days.
“There has never been a clear legal basis. [to not let her in the country]” The foreign minister emphasized. “But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” He further said that if any such grounds come to light, a person can be blacklisted even after crossing the border.
Such decisions are based on whether one’s “The presence is a threat to national security.” Landsbergs clarified, as quoted by Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT.
The Baltic state had previously imposed strict restrictions on Russian travelers, banning entry except for diplomatic or family reasons, among others.
Sobchak left Russia on Wednesday following the arrest of Kirill Sukhanov, the commercial manager of his ‘Ostrozhno Media’ (Beware the Media) group. Russian news agency TASS, citing case files, reported that Sakhanov, former editor-in-chief of Tatler Russia magazine, and Arian Romanovsky were accused of accepting money from Sergei Chemizov, the head of Russian state-controlled technology company Rostec.
According to TASS, prosecutors claim the two suspects demanded money in exchange for guarantees that Chemizov would not receive critical coverage on the Telegram channel ‘Tush*te svet’ (‘Lights out’) they control. , which specializes in celebrity gossip.
Sobchak, who is reportedly a person of interest in the same investigation, has categorically denied any involvement. On Thursday, he said he did not write the messages on, and had no control over, any of the Telegram channels mentioned in the court papers. He earlier expressed support for his employee and termed the case against him as assault. “The Last Free Newsroom” Sources in Russia told TASS that the journalist had not informed the country’s law enforcement agencies about his second citizenship.
Ksenia Sobchak is the daughter of Anatoly Sobchak, who served as mayor of St. Petersburg in the 1990s and is considered a political mentor of President Vladimir Putin. She built a successful media career in Russia and became a recognized figure in the liberal opposition. In 2018, he ran for president with 1.7 percent of the vote.
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