- According to diplomats, the EU wants to decide on new sanctions against Russia on Monday.
- The reason is the latest court rulings against Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
- Shortly before the meeting of EU foreign ministers, Moscow has now warned of new sanctions.
In the Navalny case, the EU has been demanding the release of the Kremlin critic for about three weeks, without success. In Brussels, it is assumed that government agencies in Russia are behind the attack on Navalny.
Moscow rejects this as interference in internal affairs. The 44-year-old was convicted at the beginning of February because, from the judge’s point of view, he repeatedly violated probation requirements in an earlier criminal case in 2014 for fraud and embezzlement of funds.
In an appeal process last Saturday, the judiciary confirmed the imprisonment in a prison camp. Also on Saturday, Navalny was fined for allegedly insulting a World War II veteran.
Russia could break off relations with the EU
Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, accused Moscow of being aggressive and unrealistic in the Navalny case. Relations between the EU and Russia have been in a serious crisis since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“Unfortunately, it seems as if we have not yet reached the lowest point,” Asselborn told the editorial network Germany. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov no longer even wants to rule out the possibility that his country will break off relations with the EU. “That goes deep,” says Asselborn. However, the EU will not tolerate human rights violations.
Moscow threatens the EU
Even before the EU ministers’ talks began, the first threat from Moscow was on the table. Russia’s EU ambassador Vladimir Chizhov warned Europeans of new sanctions against his country. “If and if that happens, we will be prepared to answer,” he told the “world”.
“In any case, Russia’s actions will be based on facts and analysis and not on guesswork and emotions,” he announced. Many of the EU’s decisions have so far been “illogical and astonishingly politicized”.
Because of the attack on Navalny, which was then dealt with in Germany, the EU had already imposed entry and property bans on people suspected of being responsible in the vicinity of President Vladimir Putin last year.
The EU also wants to talk about sanctions against the leaders of the recent military coup in the Southeast Asian country of Burma. According to the EU, the coup is unacceptable. The military had overthrown Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, who headed a government made up of civilians and the military, in early February. At least two demonstrators were killed in protests against the military coup at the weekend, according to media reports.
The EU foreign representative Josep Borrell condemned the actions of the military and the security forces again on Saturday and called for an immediate end to the violence against civilians. According to the Spaniard, the discussion at the foreign ministers’ meeting this Monday should enable “appropriate decisions”.
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