Ministers met in Brussels to ask the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell, to draw up a final list of people to be sanctioned, but no oligarchs will be included, one high-ranking diplomat told AFP.
Waves of sanctions
Late on Sunday, two close associates of Navaln met in Brussels with eight EU foreign ministers and several community ambassadors.
One of these comrades, Leonid Volkov, told AFP that “there was talk of targeted personal sanctions [Rusijos prezidentui Vladimirui] “Putin’s closest allies and people guilty of gross human rights abuses.”
However, EU diplomats said measures could only be taken against those directly responsible for Russia’s treatment of Navaln, as the list of targets could be challenged in court.
The meeting, which took place on Sunday, was initiated by Lithuania. Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis did not name any other EU officials involved.
“It simply came to our notice then [pirmadieniui] “That we will decide unanimously on the list” to whom the new sanctions should apply, AFG Landsberg said.
The position vis-à-vis Moscow tightened after Borrell’s unsuccessful trip to Russia, during which Moscow announced the expulsion of three European diplomats and refused to negotiate cooperation.
The EU has repeatedly imposed sanctions on Russia on several occasions for the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and incitement to war in eastern Ukraine.
In October, the bloc added six officials to the list of sanctions related to last year’s poisoning of A. Navalnas with the nerve-paralyzing substance “Novičiok”.
Putin’s most prominent critic was sentenced to more than two and a half years in prison this month after returning to Russia after treatment in Germany.
The verdict has also provoked mass protests in many Russian cities, during which thousands of people have been detained by security forces.
“The right solutions”
The EU also looks ready to take targeted action against the Myanmar military, which seized power earlier this month and brutally suppressed protests.
Mr Borrell on Saturday condemned the violence against peaceful protests that claimed the lives of two demonstrators. According to him, EU foreign ministers will make “appropriate decisions”.
A senior EU official said Monday’s meeting would lead to decisions “possibly providing for some concrete action against some members of the army”.
According to the official, in addition to these measures, ministers should add about 30 members of the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the sanctions list.
Among them are likely to be those linked to the December elections, whose legitimacy the EU refused to recognize, as well as those linked to wider human rights abuses, the source said.
Ministers also plan to discuss China’s actions against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, as well as to assess whether the EU should step up its response as Beijing takes increasingly harsh measures.
The first full-fledged talks with the Communities by US Head of Diplomacy A. Blinken will shift the focus to cooperation between the two sides to defuse the tensions that have increased during the term of former US President Donald Trump.
The possibility of forming a joint front against common opponents such as Russia and China is likely to be considered, as well as efforts to return the United States to the circle of countries that adhere to the agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
The EU is currently looking forward to holding a meeting in Washington, Tehran and other signatories, including Russia, to discuss how to rescue the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA), from which Mr Trump withdrew in 2018.
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