EU foreign ministers are in favor of new sanctions related to Russia’s imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and have adopted sanctions against the junta in Myanmar.
Ministers had barely arrived in Brussels before the formal condemnation of the coup in Myanmar was sent out. They also said they were ready to impose measures, and on Monday night the message came that the EU was imposing sanctions on those behind the coup. At the same time, parts of aid to the country are being withheld.
“We made a political decision to impose sanctions on the military responsible for the coup, and their financial interests,” EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Monday night.
“All direct financial support from our development system for the government’s reform programs is withheld,” he added.
The EU is Myanmar’s third largest trading partner.
Asks for downsizing
In the statement earlier in the day, the ministers called for a downsizing, as well as for the civilian government to be restored and the newly elected National Assembly to immediately get three together.
The statement came after several protesters were shot and killed by soldiers in recent days, but without putting a damper on the protests. Tens of thousands gathered on Monday in the streets of the country’s largest cities.
Foreign ministers on Monday also called for new sanctions against those responsible for the arrest of Russian regime opponent Alexei Navalny and his supporters.
According to Borrell, he will prepare concrete proposals for punitive measures, which he hopes can be introduced within a week. The measures may include the blocking of accounts and the denial of visas for some Russian officials, according to sources in EU diplomacy.
– Must avoid constant conflict
Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it was disappointed with the decision and called the measures taken against Russian citizens illegal.
Borrell also says that the ministers agree that Russia is becoming an authoritarian state, but he also believes that it is important for the EU to avoid the union ending up in constant confrontation with Russia.
EU Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov tells the German newspaper Die Welt that Russia is prepared to respond to new EU sanctions.
Russia has previously expelled diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden who allegedly took part in demonstrations in support of Navalny.
The deportation was announced at the same time as Borrell visited Moscow and attended a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Sweden says their diplomat only observed one demonstration.
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