Austria's top diplomat has said EU foreign ministers would back sanctioning Russia over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. This is reported by DW.
Alexander Schallenberg told Germany's Welt Am Sonntag newspaper the bloc will use new powers that governments agreed on last year to punish human rights abuses.
"This also includes targeted measures against individuals within the framework of the newly created human rights sanctions regime," he said. "I expect a broad majority of support for this."
"Just commenting on what is happening in Russia from the sidelines and threatening sanctions is not enough," he said. "Russia is a reality in our neighborhood that we cannot simply 'talk' away, but that we have to face."
The move to target the Kremlin comes two weeks after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was caught in a diplomatic ambush in Moscow that enraged member states.
Russia later expelled three European diplomats and rebuffed talk of cooperation.
EU diplomats quoted by the AFP news agency said the new measures would focus on travel bans and asset freezes.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia in the past, hitting Moscow with a series of restrictive measures over its 2014 annexation of Crimea.
It also drew up a list of individuals believed to have been involved in the 2018 poisoning of a former Russian agent in the United Kingdom.
Last year, the bloc blamed and sanctioned Moscow for cyberattacks on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the German Bundestag.
It also blacklisted six officials in October over the poisoning of Navalny with Novichok, a nerve agent. The opposition figure then flew to Germany for medical treatment, returning home last month.