The foreign ministers of the European Union countries at the summit in Brussels agreed in principle on the extension of personal sanctions against Russia due to the situation with Alexei Navalny.
“The foreign ministers agreed on personal sanctions against Russia for Navalny. The foreign ministers did not discuss names on Monday, ” Reuters reported, citing diplomatic sources. At the same time, it is emphasized that the sanctions list “will not keep you waiting.”
According to the sources of the publication, it may be the chairman of the Investigative Committee, the director of the Russian Guard, the prosecutor general of Russia, and the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service.
The new list of sanctions will be adopted by the end of March
The meeting of ministers is taking place two weeks after the sensational visit to Moscow of the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security of the European Union Josep Borrell.
As a result, Borrell announced sanctions, plans were confirmed by the head of European diplomacy Peter Stano, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would support the restrictions. It is expected that the next restrictions against Russia will be adopted under a new regime of punishment for violations of human rights. At the same time, Bloomberg sources claimed that the sanctions would not affect large Russian businessmen, as required by some MEPs.
We will only talk about the persons who, according to the EU, are directly involved in the arrest of Navalny. At the same time, the approval of the new list is expected by the EU summit on March 25-26.
Russian Foreign Ministry: EU presses on “dead button”
The decision of the foreign ministers of the EU countries to expand personal sanctions against Russia is disappointing, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The strategy of introducing new restrictive measures in the department was called the “non-working sanctions button” of Brussels.
“Obeying bloc discipline and anti-Russian stereotypes, Brussels is instinctively pushing again the inoperative sanctions button. Moreover, contrary to logic, a political decision is first made, and then it is planned to arbitrarily select candidates for it, ”the statement says. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said that the decision on the sanctions was made “under a far-fetched pretext” and in the context of “an unprecedented warming up of the anti-Russian information background.”
“The rooting in the EU’s foreign policy arsenal of such illegitimate instruments – ultimatums, pressure, and sanctions – is only regrettable,” the statement says.
In October 2020, the EU has already introduced personal sanctions against a number of Russians in connection with the situation with Alexei Navalny. Then the list included six high-ranking officials who, according to representatives of Brussels, should be responsible for the alleged poisoning of the oppositionist. Also, one research institute was sanctioned. Brussels claimed that the institute was involved in the development and production of chemical weapons, including the Novichok substance.
Austria urged “not to chop branches under you”
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg believes that the sanctions lists must be impeccable from a legal and legal point of view, otherwise, the EU “will cut the branch on which it sits.”
The EU is likely to adopt new sanctions against Russia over the situation with opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Austrian Foreign Minister told Welt am Sonntag. Austria is in favor of further sanctions, he said. Ministers can ask the European External Action Service to provide them with a list of people and organizations that could potentially be banned from entering the EU and frozen.
The fact that Europe intends to introduce new sanctions against Russia because of Navalny was previously said by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell after his visit to Moscow.
Dmitry Peskov, the representative of the Russian president, said that Russia is categorically against “interference in the interests of each other and the use of double standards.”