Russia’s imprisonment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the harsh action against his demonstrators have led to new demands for increased EU action against Moscow.
– I expect that we will take sanctions, in accordance with the new human rights sanction system, around the Navalny case and I look forward to EU unity in this important case, said Foreign Minister Ann Linde (S) in a short comment in English on arrival in Monday’s ministerial meeting in Brussels.
In the afternoon, the expected news came that the EU countries would say yes to the expanded measures.
At least four new ones
According to the news agency Reuters, these are sanctions against at least four heavy representatives of the management in Russia: the public prosecutor, the chief of the prison service, the head of the National Guard and the head of the country’s powerful special investigation commission, Sledkom.
– It is obvious that Russia is on a collision course with the EU. We will have an important discussion on how to respond to this and I hope we can do so in a united and determined way, said EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell on his way to Monday’s meeting.
The formal decision on the sanctions – in the form of a ban on entry into the EU and the freezing of any assets there – will be taken later.
Order from EU committee
From the Swedish side, Linde has received an order from the Riksdag to also raise the issue of the Russian-German gas pipeline Nordstream 2.
She did not really want to do that, but has had to bow to a majority in the EU committee on Friday, where only the governing parties S and MP were against.
Among most EU member states, however, there is moderate interest in imposing sanctions on Nordstream, not least because German and European companies are also at risk.
Myanmar and the United States
EU foreign ministers have also discussed the situation in countries such as Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Belarus and Myanmar (Burma).
– What is happening there is terrible and is getting worse, Linde said on the way to the meeting about the latter country, where the rulers can now expect to be affected by renewed EU sanctions.
“The EU is ready to impose heavy sanctions on those directly responsible for the military coup and its economic interests,” said a joint statement from Brussels.
Later on Monday afternoon, a first longer conversation with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also expected, if only via the web.
Victor Nummelin / TT