A prominent Kremlin-connected nationalist ideologue said he was briefly detained at the Greek border and told he was being denied entry into the European Union despite not being on an EU sanctions list.
Aleksandr Dugin, the virulently anti-Western head of the Russia-based International Eurasian Movement, said on May 17 that Greek border guards refused to let him enter the country after he arrived at the airport in the city of Thessaloniki.
The border guards said he was stopped from entering the EU at the request of Hungarian authorities, Dugin told the conservative, religious-themed television channel Tsargrad, where he serves as editor in chief.
Tsargrad subsequently reported that Dugin was later allowed into the country after intervention by Russian diplomats.
The television channel is owned by Russian tycoon Konstantin Malofeyev, who is believed to have bankrolled much of the Russia-backed separatist movement in Ukraine and has been sanctioned by the EU for his alleged role in the conflict.
The United States last year slapped sanctions on Dugin, citing his affiliation with a group that Washington says has "actively recruited individuals with military and combat experience to fight on behalf of Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine."
Dugin has courted both left-wing and right-wing political groups in Hungary, Greece, and other EU member states. He said he had travelled to Greece in connection with Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned upcoming visit to the country.
He called his detention "rather strange," saying that he had "freely traveled" in the EU in recent months.
"We are talking about an attempt to darken Russian-Greek relations," Dugin said.
He added that Greece ultimately allowed him to enter because it is an "Orthodox, fraternal country and did not give in to U.S. pressure."