MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova lashed out at the European Union’s decision to hurl new sanctions against Moscow over the situation with opposition figure Alexey Navalny, branding the move illogical and incompatible with European achievements in human rights protection, she told Channel One on Wednesday.
The diplomat recalled a statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that the call for sanctions against Russia was consolidated after his visit to Moscow earlier this month. "The visit followed the usual pattern as far as form and content go. And he said that the negotiations had taken place. <...> This [Borrell’s statement] is beyond all logic. As soon as logic disappears, consequently, we are up against an absurd story staged in advance, with a scripted media crusade," Zakharova said, when appearing on the Vremya Pokazhet (Time Will Tell) program.
The EU is the alliance of "countries with a longstanding history, rich culture, economic accomplishments and achievements in the human rights sphere," to which Brussels "has always paid true attention, without turning it into a circus, like it is being forced to do now," she emphasized.
During a press conference after the foreign ministers of 27 EU countries had met in Brussels, Josep Borrell announced a political move to introduce new sanctions against individuals whom the EU deemed as responsible for sentencing opposition figurehead Alexey Navalny. According to him, for the first time, sanctions will be imposed within the framework of the sanctions mechanism on human rights violations.
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 turned Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence into real jail time.