Four top Russian government officials have been hit by the new EU sanctions in the Navalny case. For the first time it is possible to freeze existing assets in the EU. The United States is pursuing this without naming any names.
The European Union (EU) on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on Russia over its controversial detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. In concerted action, punitive measures were decided against several top government officials in Brussels and Washington. Moscow responded critically and declared the West’s action ineffective.
As for the United States, these are the first obstacles in the case since the inauguration of the new US President, Joe Biden. His predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from sentencing proceedings against Moscow in the Navalny case.
Attorney General, Prison Administration, Investigator, National Guard
The EU imposed entry and property restrictions on four senior representatives of the judiciary and law enforcement, according to an official EU press release on Tuesday. The victims were Attorney General Igor Krasno, prison administration director Alexander Kalashnikov, head of the investigation team Alexander Bastrikin and head of the National Guard Viktor Solodov.
The European Union is now for the first time using its new embargo against human rights abuses. The names of the victims have already been known in the last few days. This has caused annoyance in many member states because it could undermine the effectiveness of sanctions. Due to advance warning, victims can withdraw assets from the EU before freezing.
Borel puts the brakes on sanctions against oligarchy
Navalny and the European Parliament have called for sanctions against Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin. EU Foreign Representative Joseph Borrell pointed out that there should be “a clear link” to Navalny’s arrest and sentencing. Otherwise sanctions can be challenged before the European Court of Justice.
In the aftermath of the poisoning, the EU had already added six Russians to its embargo. Among them were Sergei Kryenko, vice president of President Putin’s presidential administration, and Alexander Portnikov, head of FSB’s domestic intelligence.
The United States did not name any names
Representatives of the US government did not initially name the victims of their sanctions on Tuesday. However, they stressed that the punitive measures basically reflect the reaction of the Europeans. The next steps will be to closely integrate with European allies. It is one thing to blame Russia for the attack on Navalny and his imprisonment. Government officials stressed that the Biden administration was generally taking a different approach to Moscow.
Despite international demands for his release, a Russian court upheld Navalny’s sentence on February 20 and sentenced him to several years in prison. According to his lawyers’ calculations, he could be released in the summer of 2023 in about two and a half years. The Russian judiciary has accused Navalny of violating probation in a previous criminal case while recovering from a poisoning attack in Germany. The ruling has been criticized in the West as politically motivated.
The 44-year-old is said to have been transferred to the Pokrov penitentiary, about 100 kilometers east of Moscow in the Vladimir region. However, no official confirmation has been received so far.
The Russian government on Tuesday rejected EU and US sanctions as ineffective. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin at the Interfox company in Moscow, said it was time to think about whether the policy was effective. “The answer is obvious: this policy has not reached its goals.” Russia has repeatedly insisted that it will not allow itself to be impressed by the EU and US punitive measures in the wake of the many conflicts. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the sanctions.
(APA / Reuters / dpa / AFP)