Status: 02/22/2021 11:50 a.m.
Several years in penal camp for Navalny – possibly reason enough for the EU to decide on further sanctions against Russia. Germany, Lithuania and Luxembourg are in favor. The EU foreign ministers want to discuss this today.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has spoken out in favor of further EU sanctions against Russia. With the conviction of the Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny and the fact that he had to spend his imprisonment in a prison camp, the question of sanctions arises again. “I am in favor of giving the order here to prepare such sanctions and listing of individuals,” said Maas in Brussels before the start of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Janis Kluge, Science and Politics Foundation, on further EU-Russia sanctions
tagesschau24, February 22nd, 2021
But the EU will also talk about ways of maintaining a “constructive dialogue” with Russia. “We need Russia to resolve many international conflicts,” said Maas. Relations between the EU and Russia are currently at a low point.
Asselborn: Do not tolerate human rights violations
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn is also on Germany’s side. The EU must not tolerate violations of human rights, Asselborn told the editorial network Germany. At the same time he stressed that the new sanctions had to be “legally binding” so that they “don’t fall on our feet in front of the European Court of Justice”.
Asselborn, however, was skeptical that the new sanctions would have an effect in Russia. Relations between the EU and Moscow have been in a serious crisis since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. He went even further than Maas and declared: “Unfortunately, it seems we haven’t hit rock bottom yet.”
Talks with Navalny confidants in Brussels
Lithuania also expects the EU foreign ministers to agree on new sanctions against Russia. “I hope that an agreement will be reached,” said Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis of the BNS agency before the meeting with his counterparts. On his initiative, several foreign ministers and ambassadors from EU countries met with Navalny confidants Leonid Volkov and Ivan Zhdanov yesterday in Brussels. This shows that the Navalny case and relations with Russia are high on the agenda of EU foreign ministers, Landsbergis said.
Lithuania and the other two Baltic states Latvia and Estonia are in favor of a tough EU course against Moscow. In the Navalny case, the EU has been calling for the Kremlin critic to be released for around three weeks now. Moscow rejects this as interference in internal affairs.
Several judgments against Navalny
The 44-year-old was convicted in Moscow at the beginning of February because, from the judge’s point of view, he had repeatedly violated probation conditions in previous criminal proceedings. In an appeal process last Saturday, the judiciary confirmed the imprisonment in a prison camp. In another trial, Navalny was fined for allegedly insulting a World War II veteran.
The Kremlin critic returned to Russia in January after being treated for a poison attack in Germany. He was arrested immediately after arriving in Moscow. The EU had already imposed entry and property bans on people suspected of being responsible from President Vladimir Putin’s environment last year. Brussels assumes that government agencies in Russia are responsible for the poison attack.