Wednesday, February 24, 2021

EU launches new Russia sanctions over Navalny


The foreign ministers of the EU countries agreed on Monday at a meeting in Brussels to begin the necessary preparations for the punitive measures, as confirmed by several diplomats.

“I expect a green light today at the political level for further sanctions against Russia, against people in the judiciary, in the police apparatus who are directly responsible for dealing with it,” said Russian oppositionist Alexej Navalny, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) said before the meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

He does not believe that sanctions against Russia are “toothless”. If that were the case, Moscow would not respond with threats, Schallenberg told journalists. On the one hand they try to bring about a “change in behavior” with sanctions, on the other hand they send a “clear signal that we reject a measure, a policy”.

Foreign Minister for Dialogue with Moscow

According to diplomats, the foreign ministers wanted to take a political decision in principle on new sanctions. 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, said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Brussels. Those affected would be punished with entry bans and the freezing of their assets in the EU.

Regarding the controversial visit by the EU Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell, Schallenberg said: “Basically, I believe that it was right to continue the dialogue and go to Moscow.” With a view to the expulsion of three EU diplomats during the visit, he sharply criticized Moscow. “This is not a way of dealing with partners with whom you have a close relationship, and that will certainly have consequences, also in terms of the sanctions I am in favor of.”

The supporters of the Kremlin critic have asked the EU not to shy away from sanctions against Russian oligarchs. He considers such punitive measures to be legally possible, said Navalny employee Leonid Volkov to journalists in Brussels. Without the oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin, the “machinery of repression” in Russia would be inconceivable. And the oligarchs, in turn, benefited from it.

Navalny himself and the European Parliament had demanded that the EU also put oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin on the sanctions list. However, this is considered unlikely. In Brussels it is pointed out that sanction decisions must withstand a challenge in court and that direct responsibility of oligarchs for the imprisonment of Navalny can hardly be proven.

Also read: Navalny has to pay to a warehouse and fine

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#launches #Russia #sanctions #Navalny

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