EU MINISTERS OK RUSSIA SANCTIONS OVER NAVALNY IMPRISONMENT
European Union (EU) foreign ministers have agreed to pursue fresh sanctions against Russia following the jailing of dissident Alexei Navalny, diplomatic sources confirmed to Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Work can now begin on choosing targets and setting out the legal framework. Asset freezes or travel bans could target those involved in the imprisonment of the prominent Kremlin critic.
The EU is expected to use its new global human rights violations sanctions tool for the first time since it was set up. The bloc already resorted to punitive measures over Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict and after Navalny's poisoning in August. Russia has threatened to retaliate if fresh EU sanctions are applied.
After surviving a nerve agent poison attack and receiving treatment in Germany, Navalny returned to Russia in mid-January and was immediately arrested. He has since been sentenced to a prison term on charges of violating parole for a fraud conviction. EU states have been calling for his release to no avail amid a wave of pro-Navalny protests in Russia met with thousands of arrests.