Russia’s imprisonment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the harsh action against his demonstrators have been met with sharp EU condemnation.
As Russia has only angrily shaken off all criticism and instead opposed to expelling EU diplomats, the EU is now responding with new sanctions.
– For the first time, we are using the new human rights sanction regime, which some call the Magnitsky regime, and it will be clear soon. We have a political decision that we have made today, says Foreign Minister Ann Linde (S) after talks with her EU colleagues in Brussels on Monday.
Exactly who it is that will be affected by the travel ban to the EU and the freezing of any assets, Linde does not want to go into. However, EU diplomats tell Reuters news agency about at least four prospects:
* Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the country’s powerful investigative committee, Sledkom.
* Attorney General Igor Krasnov.
* Viktor Zolotov, head of the National Guard.
* Alexander Kalashnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Prison and Probation Service, FSIN.
The EU Foreign Service will now find out who will be affected. Within a week, the Foreign Minister expects that the formal sanction decision may be taken.
Took up Nordstream
At Monday’s meeting, Ann Linde also mentioned that the controversial Russian-German gas pipeline Nordstream 2 must also be questioned in this context.
She had to do so, since it was demanded by a majority in the Riksdag’s EU committee on Friday, despite opposition from the governing parties S and MP.
– So that is Sweden’s position, says Linde, who, however, did not get much attention inside the meeting.
“Several countries pointed out that they considered it inappropriate to address it, because it (Nordstream) is about energy issues and that one should not sanction – as someone said – 150 European companies and target sanctions that hit Europe and Germany,” he said. the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During the meeting, it was also decided on further sanctions against various rulers in Venezuela and a warning for the same against the coup plotters in Myanmar (Burma).
“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.
In addition, a lengthy online conversation was held with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – to the great delight of many of those who sighed heavily at how it sounded from the US during Donald Trump’s time as president.
– It feels so fantastic. There will be an experienced foreign minister who knows the EU and Europe, who has been involved in negotiating the Iran agreement and who repeatedly says: “This is complicated, there are no easy solutions”. Hearing it from an American today is fantastic, says Linde.
– It was a bit of a hallelujah atmosphere, I have to say.
Victor Nummelin / TT
EU countries agreed in December 2020 on a new framework for sanctions against people who “are responsible for, have been involved in or linked to serious human rights abuses worldwide”.
In the past, the EU has only been able to impose sanctions that have been specifically targeted at certain conflicts or problem areas, such as the wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine or linked to UN measures such as a ban on chemical weapons or an arms embargo on Libya.
The new sanctions framework is in the same style as the US so-called Magnitsky law – named after Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a prison in Moscow in 2009.