KIEV, 23 Feb – RIA Novosti. European Union sanctions against Russia should be imposed not only because of the arrest of Alexei Navalny, but also for violations of human rights in Crimea, said the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmitry Kuleba.
Earlier, following a meeting in Brussels, EU foreign ministers made a political decision to expand anti-Russian sanctions for the arrest of Navalny. According to the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, the sanctions list should be agreed upon within a week. As the media reported, the sanctions may affect “the chairman of the investigative committee of the Russian Federation, the director of the Russian Guard, the prosecutor general of Russia and the head of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation.”
“We positively assess the EU's decision to apply sanctions against the Russian Federation in response to the arrest of Alexei Navalny, but I took the opportunity to reaffirm to my Lithuanian counterpart my deep conviction that the EU's human rights sanctions mechanism should be applied to violators of human rights in the occupied Crimea,” Kuleba said after a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielus Landsbergis.
In turn, Landsbergis noted that during the discussion of the extension of sanctions by the EU, it was noted that they would be extended if Kiev provided evidence of human rights violations in Crimea and Donbass.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned Brussels against introducing new sanctions against Russia and noted that a proportionate response would follow.
A court in Moscow on February 2 ruled to cancel Navalny's suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case and replace him with 3.5 years in a general regime colony due to numerous violations of the conditions of the probationary period. The Moscow City Court recognized the decision to replace Navalny's suspended sentence with a real one. He will have to spend about 2.5 years in a colony. Allegations that Navalny is being persecuted solely for his political activities have been refuted by the European Court of Human Rights: Strasbourg did not recognize the political motives in the Yves Rocher case, although it awarded compensation for house arrest, which were paid in full by the Russian authorities.
Crimea became a Russian region after a referendum was held there in March 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimean voters and 95.6% of Sevastopol residents spoke out in favor of joining Russia. Ukraine still considers Crimea to be its own, but temporarily occupied territory. The Russian leadership has repeatedly stated that the inhabitants of Crimea democratically, in full compliance with international law and the UN Charter, voted for reunification with Russia. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Crimea issue is “finally closed.”