It is specified that the sanctions will be introduced against four top Russian officials involved in the prosecution of supporters of oppositionist Alexei Navalny. However, the specific names are not revealed.
The officials of France, Germany, Poland and the Baltic states urged to impose restrictions on the Kremlin officials. It is planned to discuss the restrictions, including asset freezes and visa bans.
"I am in favor of ordering the preparation of additional sanctions, of listings of specific persons. At the same time we need to talk about how to keep up a constructive dialogue with Russia, even as relations certainly have reached a low,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Besides, some EU officials held a meeting with Navalny’s allies, including Leonid Volkov, who underlined that the union should sanction Putin’s inner circle.
"The strongest answers that could be given would be personal targeted sanctions against Putin’s closest allies, the most important parts of the repressive machine he’s built,” he said.
As we reported, Austria's top diplomat said EU foreign ministers would back sanctioning Russia over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
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.