Calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin mounted after Russia expelled earlier in February, three European diplomats, from Germany, Poland, and Sweden, on grounds they attended illegal rallies in support of Navalny. The foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc are meeting in Brussels for talks that will also include a videoconference with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained after his arrival to Moscow from Germany on 17 January 2021. Thus, when the sentence comes into force, the term will be 2 years 8 months. Russian courts, however, have rejected the call, accusing the body of interfering in its domestic judicial affairs. A Moscow judge on 18 January ruled that he will remain in custody for 30 days following his airport arrest. “I am to be given the order to prepare sanctions – listing of individuals. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>EU foreign ministers likely to approve new sanctions against Russia
By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe
epa08982535 A handout picture provided by Moscow City court press service shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in the glass cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, 02 February 2021. The move could come a day after the Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, threatened Moscow with fresh sanctions for ignoring a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) arguing that Navalny should be released. EPA-EFE/MOSCOW CITY COURT PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
A handout picture provided by Moscow City court press service shows Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stands in the glass cage during a hearing in the Moscow City Court in Moscow, Russia, 02 February 2021. Speaking before the meeting, Germany’s FM, Heiko Maas said that he will be mandated to prepare a list of Russian individuals to be sanctioned. The visiting session of the Simonovsky city court decided to grant the Federal Penitentiary Service petition to replace the suspended sentence with a real one. 3.5 years in a general regime colony, while the time spent under house arrest during the investigation of the ‘Yves Rocher’ case must be credited. The move was made during Borrell’s visit to Moscow, in a rather embarrassing moment for the bloc’s foreign policy chief who came under fire for his passive stance against Moscow. EPA-EFE/MOSCOW CITY COURT PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT MANDATORY CREDIT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
European Union foreign ministers are likely to approve on Monday new sanctions against Russia over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the violent crackdown on protesters demanding his release. At the same time, however, we have to look for ways of maintaining a dialogue with Moscow,” Maas told reporters.