New renewed tension between Brussels and Moscow. The European Union’s foreign ministers on Monday decided to adopt new sanctions against four senior Russian officials responsible for the treatment inflicted on Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny, several diplomats said.
A “political agreement” was reached during a meeting of ministers of the Twenty-Seven, and the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, has been asked to propose a list of names of Russian officials to be sanctioned, the officials said. diplomats. No oligarch should be affected, they say.
The agreement was reached after a long discussion between the ministers, but no names will be mentioned after the meeting. “These will be targeted, proportionate and legally based sanctions,” said one of the diplomats.
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The sanctions should target “officials of the police and judiciary responsible for the unacceptable treatment of Alexey Navalny,” said the head of the Austrian diplomacy, Alexander Schallenberg, upon his arrival at the meeting.
“It is hardly possible to sanction the oligarchs. We can only act against officials, and that only if we have proof, ”for his part stressed the head of Luxembourg’s diplomacy, Jean Asselborn. These European sanctions consist of a visa ban and an asset freeze in the EU for those concerned.
A warning from the Kremlin
Relatives of Alexeï Navalny said they were disappointed. “If it is a question of sanctioning ten Kremlin officials who do not like to travel abroad and have no property abroad, then it will not be painful and it will not convey the message”, warned Leonid Volkov, a close friend of Alexeï Navalny, who came to Brussels to plead for European sanctions against the oligarchs close to the Kremlin.
“For us, this will mean that we must continue our fight to convince,” he added. The Kremlin had issued a warning to Europeans ahead of their meeting. Moscow is “ready to react” in the event of “a new round of restrictive, unilateral, illegitimate measures”, warned Russian Ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, in an interview with the German daily Die Welt.
A “politicization” of Russian justice
Alexei Navalny, 44, was arrested in January on his return from Germany where he had been treated after being poisoned in Russia. Prosecuted for a fraud dating from 2014, he was sentenced to serve a sentence of approximately two and a half years in prison. He was also found guilty of “defaming” a veteran of the Second World War and fined 850,000 rubles (approximately 9,500 euros).
The EU denounced a “politicization” of Russian justice and demanded the unconditional release of the opponent.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr