New sanctions might be introduced against Russia due to the imprisonment of Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny as Reuters reported.
High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell announced the possibility of new sanctions after the visit to Moscow describing the government of President Vladimir Putin as “merciless”, authoritarian and afraid of democracy.
“The Russian government is going down a worrisome authoritarian route,” Borrell said.
The politician added that Russia wanted to break away from Europe and divide the West.
“There seems to be almost no room for the development of democratic alternatives ... they are merciless in stifling any such attempts,” he added.
It is noted that Moscow Moscow expelled three EU diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden during Borrell’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which Borrell described as heated.
Later, these countries expelled the Russian diplomats in response.
Concerning the sanctions, they might target senior Russian business and political figures, judges and security chiefs. These names were announced by Alexei Navalny’s allies Vladimir Ashurkov and Leonid Volkov.
As we reported earlier, Navalny returned to Russia on January 17. Officers of the search department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia detained him right after his plane landed in Moscow.
It is worth noting that he has been on the country's federal wanted list since December 29, 2020, for repeated violations of the probationary period - Navalny is currently sentenced to conditional punishment.
Prior to that, the politician stayed in Germany, being treated at the Charite clinic and recovering from the poisoning by Novichok nerve agent in August 2020. The Russian law enforcers prosecute Navalny for "evading control measures", as he is the defendant in the Yves-Rocher case (2014). Navalny himself calls the case trumped-up and politically motivated.
On February 2, the Moscow court sentenced Alexei Navalny to 3,5 years of imprisonment in the standard-regime penal colony. Thus, the suspended sentence in the "Yves Rocher" case became the jail time for the leading Russian opposition figure.