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Ambassadors of 27 EU nations impose anti-Russian sanctions over situation around Navalny

According to the source, the decision will be soon endorsed by the European Council and will come into force as published in the Official Journal

BRUSSELS, March 1. /TASS/. Ambassadors of 27 European Union nations have agreed further anti-Russian sanctions over the situation around Russian blogger Alexey Navalny, a source in one of the delegations told TASS on Monday.

"Permanent representatives imposed sanctions as part of the human rights sanctions regime against individuals responsible for the verdict to Alexey Navalny," the source said, adding that this decision will soon be endorsed by the European Council and will come into force after being published in the Official Journal.

A political decision on further sanctions against Russia was agreed at a EU ministerial meeting on February 22. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said back then the sanctions, imposed under the human rights sanctions regime for the first time, would target those who, according to the European Union, were responsible for Navalny’s sentence.

According to Reuters, among those falling under the sanctions would be chief of Russia’s Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, chief of the Federal Penitentiary Service Alexander Kalashnikov, Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov and Chief of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov. They will be denied entry to the EU for a term of one year and will be banned to keep their money in EU banks.

The European Union’s previous sanctions over the Navalny case of October 15, 2020 targeted director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, First Deputy Chief of Staff the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko, Chief of the Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate Andrei Yarin, deputy defense ministers Alexei Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov and Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo.

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, 2021 he was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport upon arrival from Berlin. Moscow’s Khimki Court placed him under arrest. Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court on February 2 ruled to satisfy the Federal Penitentiary Service’s motion and replaced Navalny’s 3.5 year suspended sentence under the Yves Rocher embezzlement case with an actual prison term on charges of repeated violations of his sentence terms. On February 20, the Moscow City Court upheld this ruling.

In December 2020, the European Union established a global human rights sanctions regime targeting "individuals, entities and bodies - including state and non-state actors - responsible for, involved in or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred." "The framework for targeted restrictive measures applies to acts such as genocide, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations or abuses (e.g. torture, slavery, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests or detentions)," it said.

The only difference from the existing EU human rights-related restrictive measures against certain states, for instance Belarus, Myanmar, or Iran, is that the new sanctions mechanism can be applied to a citizen of any country if Brussels suspects him or her of violating human rights in his or her country, regardless of whether this country is under the EU sanctions regime or not.