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EU, US impose new sanctions against Russia over Navalny

Four Russian nationals were targeted by the European restrictions, while the Americans imposed sanctions against seven people and fourteen organizations

MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The European Union and the United States have introduced new sanctions against Moscow over the Russian blogger Alexey Navalny case. Four Russian nationals were targeted by the European restrictions, while the Americans imposed sanctions against seven people and fourteen organizations, with only some of them being Russian.

Who’s on the European list

The new restrictions introduced by Brussels will target Head of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, Director of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov, head of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Kalashnikov and Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov. They are all banned from entering the EU or hold assets in EU banks.

These are first sanctions that were introduced against Russia as part of the mechanism that envisages responses to human rights violations. Previously, such restrictions were either imposed as part of general sanctions against separate countries or the so-called special mechanisms, for instance for using chemical weapons.

On October 15, 2020, Brussels already placed Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Chief of the Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate Andrei Yarin, Deputy Defense Ministers Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov as well as presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyaylo on the banned list in light of the Navalny case.

US sanctions

The US is yet to publish its official list of targeted individuals and organizations. The US administration noted that the restrictions will affect seven high-ranking officials in the Russian government. Moreover, reports suggest that nine Russian, three German and one Swiss organizations will be sanctioned as well as a state research institute.

Earlier, Bloomberg noted that the US sanctions will correspond with the measures taken by Brussels.

Russia’s reaction

Moscow has already vowed to retaliate to the moves by the EU and the US. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined that reciprocity will be key in Moscow’s responses. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko pointed out that the EU decision to approve more sanctions did not come as a surprise for Russia, slamming these actions as a dead-end track which undermines bilateral relations and runs counter to interests of European countries.

Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky emphasized that the EU sanctions against Russian nationals "are just as wrongful as they are useless." According to him, it is "another step in the chain of provocations" that lay down the background to contain Russia.

Navalny saga

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. Later, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital. On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly emphasized that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany and pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin. On January 17, Navalny was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport upon arrival from Berlin.

On February 2, Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court replaced Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case with a three-and-a-half-year jail sentence in a medium-security prison.