EU agrees on new Russia sanctions for Navalny poisoning | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

2 December, Wednesday


EU agrees on new Russia sanctions for Navalny poisoning

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The EU on Monday agreed to slap Moscow with fresh sanctions over the "poisoning" of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny., Yeni Safak reports.

The foreign ministers of the bloc's 27 members gathered in Luxembourg to discuss international issues and relations with Russia.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after the meeting that they agreed to implement "restrictive measures" that would be carried out by the technical bodies of the European Council.

Borrell added that the technical bodies would deal with a proposal, including some evidence provided by France and Germany, to implement the measures.

"It was a complete, complete acceptance by all member states [...] Everybody was supporting this proposal," he said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also confirmed the decision, saying they "agreed to enact sanctions against individuals that we consider to be responsible for this violation of international law," the German Foreign Office said on Twitter. "It is important that the EU shows unity concerning such a serious crime - and we did that today."

Last week, Germany and France accused Russia of being behind the poisoning of Navalny.

"France and Germany asked Russia multiple times to shed light on the circumstances of the crime and those who perpetrated it. No credible explanation has been provided by Russia so far," said a joint statement by Maas and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. "In this context, there is no other plausible explanation for the positioning of Mr. Navalny than a Russian responsibility and involvement," it added.

Navalny, 44, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, felt sick on Aug. 20 on a flight to Moscow. After an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, he spent two days in a Russian hospital before being sent to Berlin for treatment.

After running tests in several laboratories, the German officials announced that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent, which was also used, according to the UK government, in a 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury.

Russian authorities deny any involvement in the case, saying chemical weapons are neither developed nor produced in the country since the last chemical round was destroyed in 2017, as verified and certified by the OPCW.

Currently, Novichok is known to be produced in the US and Georgia, according to Yury Shvytkin, a member of the Russian lower chamber of parliament -- the State Duma.

Russia has repeatedly sought evidence of poisoning, saying the traces of the nerve agent were not found during Navalny's stay in Omsk and that it is necessary to open a criminal investigation on what happened.

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