Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev waits before an annual state of the nation address attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov(reuters_tickers)
BERLIN/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev, who is on a European Union list of Russians banned from entering the bloc, will next week attend a meeting in Berlin with his G20 counterparts at Germany's invitation.
European Union leaders last July extended economic sanctions against Russia first imposed in 2014 after it annexed Crimea and went on to support a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine. The EU last year also extended travel bans and asset freezes covering about 150 people and 37 entities, including Tkachev.
A spokeswoman for the German ministry of agriculture played down the significance of the invitation by Germany, which in January 2015 refused to issue an entry visa to Tkachev.
"Invitations were sent to all G20 members and Russia is a G20 member," Christina Wendt told a regular government news conference in Berlin on Friday.
The Russian agriculture ministry confirmed in a statement on Friday that Tkachev will attend the Jan. 22 meeting. It said Tkachev would hold bilateral meetings with G20 counterparts. It provided no further details.
France last May granted Tkachev an entry visa to attend an assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health in Paris.
(Reporting by Joseph Nasr in Berlin and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Janet Lawrence)