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Top EU diplomats adopt political decision to impose sanctions in Navalny case

According to a diplomat, the EU may slap sanctions for efforts to stifle "a transparent investigation" into the Navalny incident rather than specifically for "using chemical weapons"

BRUSSELS, October 12. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of 27 EU members have adopted a political decision to introduce sanctions against natural persons or legal entities deemed responsible for the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, TASS was told by a source in one of the delegations to the EU Council which is currently holding a meeting in Luxembourg.

"The ministers passed a political decision to introduce restrictions against those responsible for poisoning Navalny," the interlocutor said.

According to the diplomat, the list of people and organizations that could face sanctions was not adopted at the meeting. "EU ambassadors will work on the list at the coming meetings in Brussels or starting with Wednesday, in other words," he added.

At the same time, another diplomat told TASS that the EU is facing a legal issue of lacking suspects to impose sanctions against for alleged involvement in the Navalny incident. To avoid this problem, the EU countries are considering the possibility to create a separate mechanism that will slap sanctions against some Russian officials for efforts to stifle "a transparent investigation" into the Navalny incident rather than specifically for "using chemical weapons."

Earlier, DPA agency reported that the top EU diplomats agreed to launch the necessary preparations to introduce new sanctions against Russia.

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.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recalled that neither Germany nor the OPCW had provided any evidence to Russia and, moreover, only keep redirecting Moscow to one another for information. The minister added that Germany had ignored four requests of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on the case, thus brushing international law aside, and expressed confidence that the "evidence" would not be provided by Berlin after all. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly 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.