Russia to respond to EU’s new sanctions over Navalny case, senior lawmaker says

MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The European Union’s decision to blacklist a number of Russian senior officials following a sentence to blogger Alexei Navalny is an inadmissible thing in international relations and Russia will respond to it, Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the international committee of Russia’s Federation Council upper parliament house, told TASS on Tuesday.

The European Union on Tuesday expanded sanctions against Russia to blacklist another four Russian officials – Prosecutor-General Igor Krasnov, chief of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, head of the federal penitentiary service Alexander Kalashnikov and National Guard commander Viktor Zolotov. The EU believes that all of them are responsible for Navalny’s conviction. They will be denied entry to the EU countries for a term of one year and will be banned to keep their money in EU banks.

“The European Union’s decision is a classical manipulation, planting of ‘evidence’ in an uninvestigated situation to back its “solely true’ vision of what happened. It is an inadmissible method in international relations. No doubt Russia will respond to it. But it is up to Russia’s leadership to decide what kind of response it might be,” he said.

“Should the European Union be really interested in finding the truth, and it is impossible without a full-scale investigation in Russia, it might have taken efforts not in respect of our country, but in respect of its own members – Germany, France, and Sweden – to oblige them ensure transparency of the evidentiary base. It did not happen. Hence, the European Union is interested in this situation only as a pretext to defame the Russian leadership,” Kosachev noted, adding that the same can be said about the United States’ new sanctions against Russia that followed the EU’s ones.

The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions against seven Russian individuals and 14 organizations over the situation around Navalny.

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital.

On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family.

The Russian side has repeatedly said that it is ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany and stressed that that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.

He returned to Russia on January 17, 2021 to be detained Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. A Moscow court on February 2 ruled to satisfy the Federal Penitentiary Service’s motion and replaced Navalny’s 3.5 year suspended sentence under the Yves Rocher embezzlement case with an actual prison term on charges of repeated violations of his sentence terms. On February 20, the Moscow City court upheld this ruling.

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