Moscow ‘disappointed’ with Brussels ‘pressing dysfunctional sanctions button’ as EU prepares new blacklist over Navalny’s jailing


Russia has expressed “disappointment” with the EU plan to slap new sanctions on Moscow over the imprisonment of activist blogger Alexey Navalny, with the overseas ministry calling the move political and unrelated to human rights.

The EU has “missed yet another opportunity to review its … approach to relations with Russia” that’s at present based mostly on “sanctions and pressure,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated, in an announcement following a summit of the bloc’s overseas ministers.

“Brussels once again instinctively presses the dysfunctional sanctions button,” the assertion lamented.

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Earlier on Monday, the EU’s prime diplomats agreed to impose extra sanctions on Russia over the jailing of the opposition determine. The move was confirmed by the German overseas minister, Heiko Maas, who stated that the bloc had “decided today to impose further sanctions and list specific persons.” He additionally admitted, although, that EU relations with Russia “are certainly at a low.”

Yet, Brussels’ listing of targets is seemingly but to be decided. So far, the EU diplomatic chief, Josep Borrel, was tasked with compiling such a listing, which, in response to Maas, could be agreed inside days.

This line of motion specifically drew criticism from Moscow, which stated the move “defies logic” and added that it’s primarily political in nature, for the reason that EU first takes a call to impose sanctions after which “plans to randomly pick their targets.”

The entire scenario solely exhibits that the EU is guided by political elements and “not its pompously professed commitment to human rights,” the Russian ministry stated, because it, in flip, branded the EU move as “interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.” It additionally referred to as calls for for Navalny’s launch “illegitimate” and “absurd” since he was jailed for financial crimes “in full accordance with Russian law.”

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Navalny’s imprisonment was associated to his earlier sentence in a 2014 case when he was discovered responsible of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two firms, together with the French cosmetics model Yves Rocher. At that point, he bought a suspended sentence, the phrases of which he later breached, in response to the newest courtroom determination. Thus, his suspended sentence was transformed into an actual one.

Navalny himself claimed his case and penalty had been politically motivated. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) then dominated in his favor earlier in February and demanded his instant launch. Moscow rejected this ruling, clarify that it amounted to “interference.”

Meanwhile, a gaggle of “experts, politicians, public figures, human rights activists and members of the Russian opposition” despatched an open letter to EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, urging them to deal with the Navalny matter with “the utmost priority.”

The letter’s principally European, Canadian and US signatories referred to as on EU authorities to impose sanctions on Russian officers and in opposition to Moscow’s “strategic projects” just like the Nord Stream 2 gasoline pipeline to Europe.

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The letter was additionally signed by just a few outspoken Russian opponents of the Kremlin. The listing included self-exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky; historian and opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who completely resides within the US; and controversial historian Andrey Zubov, who as soon as in contrast Crimea’s reunification with Russia to Austria’s annexation by Nazis. Lilia Shevtsova, a Russian historian and political scientist who labored in lots of American and UK universities, and Kostantin Eggert, the previous BBC Russian Service Moscow bureau editor-in-chief, had been among the many signatories as properly. Two extra names on the listing are these of Natalia Pushkareva, a Russian-born tax specialist who has labored for numerous European organizations, and Natalia Arno, the pinnacle of a US-based NGO “informing” American policymakers about Russia.

Moscow, in flip, famous that using “illegitimate instruments” by the EU, reminiscent of sanctions and ultimatums, “is regrettable.”

“Vying for a role of an independent pole at the global state, the EU … has downright forgotten that it can become reality only if it treats its partners with respect, refrains from interfering in the internal affairs [of other nations] and strictly follows the norms of international law,” it stated.

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