Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Alexej Navalny: Jean Asselborn announces new Russia sanctions


Before the EU foreign ministers’ consultations on Monday, Luxembourg’s chief diplomat Jean Asselborn announced new sanctions against Russia over the case of the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. The EU must not tolerate violations of human rights, Asselborn told the editorial network Germany. “There will be no appeasement in this matter.” In the language of diplomacy, “appeasement” means a policy of concessions and appeasement.

Asselborn emphasized that the new sanctions had to be “legally binding” so that they “don’t fall on our feet in front of the European Court of Justice”. At the same time, the Luxembourg Foreign Minister was skeptical that the new sanctions would have an effect in Russia. Relations between the EU and Russia have been in a serious crisis since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. “Unfortunately, it seems as if we have not yet reached the lowest point,” said Asselborn.

Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov warned Europeans of new sanctions against his country. He did not want to speculate about whether the EU would initiate “a new round of illegitimate unilateral restrictive measures against Russia.” If this happens, however, “we shall be prepared to answer,” Chizhov told the “world”.

According to diplomats, the EU foreign ministers want to make a fundamental political decision on new sanctions against Russia on Monday. Specifically, the punitive measures should only be worked out later. The EU wants to use its new sanctions regime to violate human rights for the first time.

The reason for the expected new sanctions are the arrest of Nawalny and the massive crackdown on demonstrators who took to the streets for him. On Saturday, a Moscow court upheld Navalny’s sentence to around two and a half years in a prison camp. In addition, the prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin was sentenced in another trial for defamation of a World War II veteran to a fine of the equivalent of 9500 euros.

Navalny was arrested immediately after returning to Russia from Germany in January. The Kremlin critic was treated in Germany after a poison attack on him in August. Navalny are accused of violating probation conditions by the Russian judiciary. As a result, his suspended sentence was changed to a detention center in early February. His appeal against this judgment has now been rejected.

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