News – AU – EU agrees to sanction Russian officials over Navalny prison

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According to EU diplomats, EU foreign ministers agreed on Monday to prepare sanctions against four high-ranking Russian officials in a largely symbolic reaction to the detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

The decision followed a meeting of ministers from the 27-nation bloc in Brussels, which included a comprehensive video conference with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

The political agreement came after France, Germany, Poland and the Baltic states called on the bloc to convey a message to President Vladimir Putin that debates and protests must be allowed in Russia

Ministers asked foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell to finalize the list of targeted names, but oligarchs would not be admitted, a senior diplomat told AFP

The head of the Russian commission of inquiry, which deals with the investigation of serious crimes, the director of prisons, the director of the Russian National Guard, as well as the attorney general were among the officials likely to face travel bans and asset freezes, diplomat told Reuters / p>

Despite Navalny’s closest advisers calling on the EU to address members of the Russian business elite close to Putin, EU governments have advocated targeting high-ranking officials because such sanctions can better withstand legal challenges

Navalny was arrested after returning to Russia from Germany last month Imprisoned February for violating probation on what he believed to be a politically motivated conviction

The Russian opposition has recovered in Germany after being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent and has accused the Kremlin of attempting to kill it, which Moscow denies

The EU decision came weeks after Russia expelled diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden when Borrell visited Moscow

Russia said the diplomats had been expelled for participating in “unauthorized demonstrations” in support of Navalny. But the expulsion order outraged European leaders during a visit by the top EU diplomat and sparked measures in Germany, Poland and Sweden from

European Union, Russia, Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin, International Sanctions, Josep Borrell

News – AU – EU agrees to sanction Russian officials over Navalny prison

Source: https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210222-eu-agrees-to-sanction-russian-officials-over-navalny-jailing