Friday, February 26, 2021

Escalation of Moscow-Brussels tension after the announcement of sanctions


Josep Borrell – Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

Moscow has described as illegal and frustrating the European Union’s plans to impose sanctions on Russian officials over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny and the recent persecution following his return to Russia.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the planned sanctions cause disappointment in Moscow, while Brussels “misses an opportunity to change its relations with Russia”, as this decision constitutes interference in Russia’s internal affairs.

On Monday afternoon, following a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, the German foreign minister announced that the 27 ministers had agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the European bloc missed an opportunity to change course with Russia, accusing the EU of meddling in Russia’s internal affairs.

Haiko Maas said: “Relations with Russia are definitely at a low level, there is no other way to describe it. Therefore, we decided today to impose additional sanctions on specific persons “, while the High Representative of the EU Foreign Minister Joseph Borrell is expected to suggest which Russian officials will be sanctioned in the coming days. According to leaks, the sanctions will affect four high-ranking Russian officials, including the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee investigating major crimes, the director of the Russian prisons, the director of the Russian National Guard and the country’s attorney general. .

However, it should be noted that Russia announced earlier that it is imposing sanctions on European officials in retaliation for the measures taken by the European Union in October against the Russians after the alleged poisoning of the country’s main opposition, Alexei Navalny. Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it had “expanded the list of representatives of EU member states barred from entering the territory of the Russian Federation” without naming them.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called the October sanctions against six Russians “unacceptable”, including Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian intelligence service (FSB).

The Russian countermeasures were announced to the representatives of the embassies of France, Germany and Sweden, countries in whose laboratories a neurotoxic agent of the Novitchok group was found in the body of Alexei Navalny, who was then hospitalized in Germany. Moscow claims that Navalny had no poison in his body when he was hospitalized in Siberia and that in the absence of European cooperation, no investigation can be launched in Russia.



#Escalation #MoscowBrussels #tension #announcement #sanctions

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