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Russian agriculture minister granted entry to France despite sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Alexander Tkachev at the Kremlin in Moscow April 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - France granted Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev an entry visa, the ministry said on Monday, even though he is on a European Union list of Russians banned from entering the bloc after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

It was not immediately clear why France made an exception for the minister, who headed a Russian delegation to an assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris that started on Sunday.

Germany refused him an entry visa in January.

Some politicians in France have voiced support in favour of lifting sanctions against Russia.

Last month, France’s lower house of parliament voted in favour of lifting European Union sanctions against Russia in a non-binding vote that went against the Socialist government’s recommendation.

Tkachev’s name was added to a list of Russian individuals banned from entering the European Union in mid-2014, when he was the head of Russia’s southern Krasnodar region, because he was awarded a medal “for the liberation of Crimea” by the acting head of Crimea for the support he provided.

Reporting by Polina Devitt; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Susan Thomas