European foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions on four Russian senior officials. The four are close to President Putin. The sanctions are primarily a symbolic response to the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
He was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison at the beginning of this month. Navalny appealed, but a court in Moscow dismissed the appeal. His custody has been deducted from the sentence and the sentence has also been shortened by six weeks. That means that Navalny has to be in a prison camp for more than 2.5 years.
The sanctions include a travel ban for the EU and bank balances are also frozen. The agreement is likely to be formally approved by the EU in early March. France, Germany, Poland and the Baltic states had called on EU member states to send Putin the message that it should be possible to conduct debates and protests in Russia.
Navalny was arrested in Moscow last month after flying to Russia from Germany. He stayed in Germany where he was recovering from a poisoning that almost cost him his life. His arrest sparked a wave of protests in Russia.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the decision to impose the sanctions was quickly taken. He did not go into details. “The relationship with Russia is definitely on the back burner, there are no other words for it,” he said.
Navalny wanted sanctions on oligarchs
Tackling the four officials is not what Navalny herself was hoping for. He spoke with MEPs at the end of November and called on Brussels to declare sanctions against wealthy Russian oligarchs. If they can no longer dock their luxury yachts in the ports of Monaco and Barcelona, they will put pressure on Putin to change course, Navalny argues.
NOS op 3 previously made this video about Navalny:
#sanctions #senior #Russians #detain #Navalny