Between the Kremlin and the European Union, tension is mounting day by day. This Tuesday, the Spaniard Josep Borrell Fontelles, head of European diplomacy, said he wanted to “propose to EU leaders sanctions against the Kremlin”.
“The Russian government is on an authoritarian path and is ruthless in the Navalny affair […]. It would be good to foresee its sanctions. I will use my right of initiative and I will make proposals that will combine actions to fight against disinformation and cyber attacks, ”he said during a speech to the European Parliament in Brussels.
A reaction that follows the affront suffered during his visit to Moscow. He had very little appreciated his meeting with the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, during his stay from February 4 to 7.
A new stage in the extremely tense exchanges between Member States of the Union and Russia for several days. On Monday, Germany, Sweden and Poland responded to Russia after Moscow’s expulsions of their diplomats deemed “unjustified”. In retaliation, they expelled Russian diplomats based in their respective territories.
“Interference in our internal affairs”
These expulsions are “unfounded, unfriendly and are a continuation of the very series of actions that the West is leading towards our country and that we qualify as interference in our internal affairs”, reacted a door -speak of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.
Three days earlier, it was Moscow that had sent diplomats from Berlin, Stockholm and Warsaw. A dismissal “condemned with the greatest firmness” by Emmanuel Macron.
Russia accused these German, Polish and Swedish representatives of having participated in an illegal demonstration in support of Alexeï Navalny to justify their expulsion from Russia. An accusation denied by their countries, which ensured that these diplomats were present on the ground as observers.
At the same time, on Tuesday, Russian deputies voted on a second reading bill to toughen penalties for breaches of the rules governing protests, days after the crackdown on protest actions in support of the jailed opponent Alexei Navalny.
Victim of suspected poisoning this summer, the No. 1 opponent to Vladimir Putin had left Germany in mid-January, where he was convalescing. He was immediately arrested by Russian police on his arrival, then jailed and sentenced in the wake of violating his judicial review, imposed in the context of a hijacking case. A decision denounced by the European Court of Human Rights.
Pro-Navalny protests: more than 4,000 arrests across Russia
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr