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Moscow disappointed by EU's move to prepare new illegitimate sanctions - Foreign Ministry

The Russian diplomatic agency pointed out that this step was undertaken by the EU Council in the conditions of an "unprecedented aggravation" of an anti-Russian information

MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. Russia has been disappointed by the decision of the Council of the European Union to prepare new illegitimate unilateral sanctions against Russian citizens, the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry made public on Monday said.

"The decision to prepare new illegitimate unilateral restrictions against Russian citizens approved by the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union on February 22 of this year over a contrived excuse causes disappointment. Another opportunity was missed by the European Union to rethink a course of artificial connections, sanctions and pressure in relations with Russia which over the past years has demonstrated its complete inadequacy," the Foreign Ministry pointed out. "Instead, following the bloc’s discipline and anti-Russian stereotypes, Brussels again instinctively pushes the inoperative sanctions ‘button.’ Moreover, defying logic, first a political decision is made and then it is planned to arbitrarily find candidates for it," the statement noted.

The Russian diplomatic agency pointed out that this step was undertaken by the EU Council in the conditions of an "unprecedented aggravation" of an anti-Russian information background related to a visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell to Moscow. "The meaning of this information campaign was obviously to find a corresponding excuse to instill in the EU foreign ministers an idea of a necessity to ‘get even’ and at the expense of a further worsening of relations with Russia compensate the alleged damage to the image of the EU diplomatic community," the ministry explained.

The Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized that this yet again confirms that adversaries of improved relations with Russia are guided by a political situation and not by "adherence to protection of human rights and basic liberties theatrically declared by them." "It is typical that the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime established by the EU Council in December 2020 just as the two previous EU sanctions mechanisms - on cyberattacks and chemical incidents, - above all will be used against our compatriots," the ministry continued. "Behind Brussels’ attempts to position these illegitimate tools as having some ‘horizontal’ and ‘global’ character one can easily see their anti-Russian essence as a means of implementing the policy of ‘containment’ of our country," the ministry explained.

Due to this, the statement emphasizes that constantly voiced "unjustified and absurd demands" to free Alexey Navalny are absolutely inadmissible since he "was convicted of financial crimes by a Russian court in the territory of our country in accordance with the Russian legislation." "In the international practice this is called interfering in internal affairs of a sovereign state," the document noted. "However, the European Union, evidently, does not wish to follow the ethics of transnational relations and, exploiting the myth of its own infallibility in the sphere of human rights which is refuted daily by images of police brutality in the streets of many European cities, by continued attacks on freedom of media outlets and the sphere of use of the Russian language, promotes its concept of ‘world order based on rules,’" the document specified.

"Entrenchment of such illegitimate tools - ultimatums, pressure and sanctions, - in the EU foreign policy arsenal only causes regrets. Aspiring to a role of an independent pole on the global stage, the European Union seemingly forgot that this can be implemented only on the basis of a respectful treatment of partners, a principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs and a strict observance of international law," the Foreign Ministry concluded.

Earlier, Josep Borrell at a press conference after a meeting of foreign ministers of 27 EU countries in Brussels reported of a political decision to introduce new sanctions regarding individuals responsible, in the opinion of the EU, for sentencing of Alexey Navalny. According to him, for the first time sanctions will be imposed within the framework of the sanctions mechanism on violation of human rights.

Navalny, who received suspended sentences for embezzlement twice, was wanted in Russia for repeated violations of conditions of his conviction in the Yves Rocher case. On January 17, he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport upon arrival from Berlin. Moscow’s Khimki Court placed him under arrest. On February 2, Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court converted Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence to jail time.