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Legal norms in the way of EU imposing sanctions in light of Navalny case — source

The thing is that there are no actual suspects in the case, according to the diplomatic source

BRUSSELS, October 12. /TASS/. The European Union has faced a legal issue of lacking suspects to impose sanctions against specific people and organizations in Russia in light of the incident involving Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, a diplomatic source in one of the EU members in Brussels told TASS.

"The EU must impose sanctions on Navalny case since the accusations of using chemical weapons cannot be left without consequences. However, to draft a list of at least ten specific natural persons to impose sanctions against, the valid link between them and Navalny’s poisoning should be established. Otherwise, any of the people on the list could easily appeal these sanctions in court. A few ways to address these problems are being studied now," the diplomat noted.

According to him, "all EU members support introducing targeted sanctions, however, time is needed to come up with them."

To avoid this collision, the EU countries are considering the possibility to create a separate mechanism that will introduce sanctions against some Russian officials for efforts to stifle "a transparent investigation" into the Navalny incident rather than specifically for "using chemical weapons."

The source confirmed that the EU intends to blacklist several Russian officials in government and power structures who Brussels believes to be accomplices in this case. They will not be allowed to enter the EU for a year, while all their assets in the EU will be frozen. The sanctions could be extended after a year. All people sanctioned by Brussels can challenge the decision of the EU Council in the European Court of Justice.

Alexey 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. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. On August 22, 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.

On October 6, the OPCW confirmed that biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics as the toxic chemicals added to the Chemical Weapons Convention’s Annex on Chemicals in November 2019. At the same time, this cholinesterase inhibitor is not listed in the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany. He pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.