European Union chiefs of diplomacy gave the green light to impose sanctions on Russia in connection with the sentencing of the oppositionist Alexei Navalny to a penal colony. Russians who will be on the EU’s “black list” will be banned from entering EU countries, and their assets in Western banks will be blocked.
Work on the preparation of sanctions will start immediately, however the discussion over specific names must take some time.
As the Brussels correspondent of RMF FM Katarzyna Szymańska-Borginon explains, it is necessary to carefully check each case – so that the EU decision cannot be called into question.
The final list is expected to be ready by the end of March: ahead of the summit of EU leaders.
The ministers’ decision was made soon after Josep Borrell, the head of EU diplomacy, visited Moscow – which turned out to be a show failure.
In common opinion, Borrell stayed humiliated by the head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, who criticized the EU, the US and Ukraine in strong words at a joint press conference. Moreover, on the same day he expelled three European diplomats from Russia: from Poland, Sweden and Germany.
In EU capitals, Moscow’s actions were perceived as an affront and a manifestation of a confrontational attitude.
The Kremlin also ignored the EU appeals for the release of the oppositionist Alexei Navalny.
Recall last summer Attempts were made to murder the leader of the Russian opposition: he was poisoned with a combat chemical agent from the Novichok group.
Navalny, in a state of pharmacological coma, was transported from Russia to Berlin, where he underwent treatment and rehabilitation for several months.
Shortly after returning to Moscow in January this year, he was arrested, and on February 2, the Russian court “hung up” his 2014 sentence.
Last Saturday, the court rejected Navalny’s appeal: the oppositionist is to be sent to a penal colony for 2.5 years.
The European Union already in October 2020 imposed sanctions on six Russian officials: it was recognized that Alexei Navalny’s attempt to poison him could not take place without the knowledge and consent of Russian state authorities.
According to Navalny’s associates, the new EU sanctions should affect Russia’s most active businessmen supporting the Kremlin.
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