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EU bans entry to FSB director, other Russian officials over Navalny incident

The sanctions list includes a research institute for organic chemistry and technology, with which EU businesses will be banned from maintaining any ties

BRUSSELS, October 15. /TASS/. Director of Russia’s Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko and four other high-ranking Russian officials were put on the EU’s blacklist against Russia over the incident with blogger Alexei Navalny, the Council of the European Union said its regulation published in the EU Official Journal.

Among those added to the list is also Chief of the Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate in the Presidential Executive Office Andrei Yarin, Deputy Defense Ministers Pavel Popov and Alexei Krivoruchko and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo.

"In these circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the poisoning of Alexei Navalny was only possible with the consent of" the above mentioned officials, the document reads.

The sanctions list also includes the State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT). EU businesses will be banned from maintaining any ties with the institute.

The EU restrictions stipulate an entry ban and freezing financial assets in European banks.

The sanctions were imposed in the framework of the EU special regime for using chemical weapons, which earlier targeted Salisbury poisoning suspects Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

On Monday, foreign ministers of 27 EU member-states adopted a political decision to introduce sanctions against individuals or legal entities deemed responsible for the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. However, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell told a press conference that the sad incident with Navalny could not define the future of EU-Russia ties.

A European diplomat in Brussels earlier told TASS that a serious legal problem with sanctions over the Navalny incident was to explain direct ties between those individuals on the blacklist and the poisoning. Unless there is a well-grounded link between them and Navalny’s poisoning, any of the sanctioned persons could easily challenge these sanctions in court, he said.

Navalny’s ‘poisoning’ saga

Russian blogger Alexei 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. He woke up from the coma on September 7 and was released on September 22.

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 stated on many occasions 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.