EU prepares to impose sanctions on Russia over Navalny’s prosecution

The European Council may impose new sanctions against the Russian authorities in connection with the persecution of Alexei Navalny, said the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn.

According to him, the new measures should be legally indisputable and directed against officials from Russian law enforcement agencies.

Asselborn noted that during his tenure, the crisis in relations between Russia and the EU has never been so deep. The Minister believes that Alexei Navalny should be released immediately: "This decision was made by the European Court of Human Rights, which also has Russian judges. Therefore, it is unacceptable for Moscow to talk about interference in internal affairs only because the Kremlin does not like the demands of the Strasbourg court."

Earlier, it was reported that British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in his speech at the UN Human Rights Council will call for actions against Russia over human rights violations. According to media reports, the minister will accuse Russia of human rights violations and non-compliance with international obligations due to the refusal of the Russian authorities to comply with the demand of the European Court of Human Rights to release Alexei Navalny.

The day before, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the European Court of Human Rights' demand to release Navalny "an attack on the international law, the consequences of which the ECHR is not capable to estimate."

"We see this decision as another element in the campaign of pressure on our country, including  interference in the internal affairs of the country," she said. "They are destroying the international legal framework, which they did not create, but on the basis of which modern international relations are built. When they destroy all this completely, on what basis will they live? What will they be calling for?"

The European Court of Human Rights demanded the Russian authorities release Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The decision was taken by the Court's seven-judge panel.

Navalny's lawyer Olga Mikhailova noted that the Russian authorities are obliged to comply with the court’s decision.

However, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Justice said that Russia does not intend to comply with the court’s demand. "The decision on the basis of rule 39 of the ECHR Regulation in this case will be an unreasonable and blatant interference in the judicial system of a sovereign state, stepping beyond the red line. Such a decision cannot be enforced from the point of view of international law," the Russian Ministry of Justice said.

  EU, Navalny, Russia