Russia designated three German non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as “undesirable” in a step criticized by Berlin and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
The Prosecutor General’s office on Wednesday said that the organizations’ activities “threaten the foundations of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation.”
Russian authorities have already designated more than 30 foreign groups as “undesirable” organizations in line with a law that has been widely seen as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to stifle criticism.
The move comes as a result of new Russian law, requiring NGOs that receive foreign funding and engage in “political activity” to register as “foreign agents.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the ban was a “serious setback” for their efforts to achieve better relations with Russia
“To ban the work of organizations that strive for understanding between our two countries and peoples is a serious setback for our efforts to achieve better relations with Russia,” Maas said.
“Nothing about their work can warrant or justify such a serious step,” added Maas.
He also urged Russia to reverse this step and encourage the free exchange within civil society.
“Representatives of civil society must be allowed to do their work without being criminalized.”
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