Foreign Ministry promised to respond to EU on new anti-Russian sanctions over Navalny

MOSCOW, March 1 – RIA Novosti. Russia will respond to new EU sanctions in connection with the case of Alexei Navalny, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told reporters.

“Of course, the reaction will be from our side,” said Grushko. At the same time, commenting on a possible response to the new sanctions, he noted that it is still pointless “to guess on the coffee grounds.”

The permanent representatives of the EU member states at their meeting on Monday launched the technical procedure for issuing a new sanctions list under the regime for violation of human rights, which should include Russian citizens involved in the arrest of Alexei Navalny, a source in the EU told RIA Novosti earlier on Monday.

The foreign ministers of the European Union at a meeting on February 22 made a political decision to expand personal anti-Russian sanctions, which will affect those involved in the arrest of Navalny. The sanctions will be adopted for the first time under the EU's new global sanctions regime for serious human rights violations, which was adopted in December 2020 and has not yet been applied. The EU has repeatedly condemned Navalny's arrest and commutation of the sentence, and called for his immediate release.

The new sanctions regime provides for restrictive measures for violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights, including freedom of conscience, the right to peaceful assembly, as well as for genocide, torture, human trafficking, and sexual violence. It includes the freezing of assets and economic resources in the EU belonging to individuals and organizations responsible for serious violations of human rights. EU states should take the necessary measures to prevent the entry or transit through their territory of individuals on the sanctions list.

In October 2020, the EU also adopted individual sanctions against six Russian citizens and one organization for the incident with Navalny's “poisoning” under the sanctions regime for the proliferation and use of chemical weapons, which was previously applied in connection with the Skripal case.

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 was being persecuted solely for his political activities have been refuted by the European Court of Human Rights, although he awarded compensation for house arrest, which were paid by the Russian authorities.

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