The European Foreign Ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four Russian senior officials. The four are close to President Putin. The sanctions are, above all, a symbolic reaction to the imprisonment of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.
He was sentenced to 3.5 years of prison camp at the beginning of this month. Navalny appealed, but a court in Moscow rejected that appeal. His detention has been deducted from the sentence and the sentence has been shortened by six weeks. That means Navalny has to be in a prison camp for over two and a half years.
The sanctions include a travel ban for the EU, and bank balances are frozen. The agreement is likely to be formally approved by the EU in early March. France, Germany, Poland and the Baltic States had called on the EU Member States to send Putin the message that debates and protests should be held in Russia.
Navalny was arrested in Moscow last month after flying from Germany to Russia. He stayed in Germany where he recovered from a poisoning that almost cost him his life. His arrest led to a wave of protests in Russia.
The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that the decision on sanctions had been taken quickly. He didnt go into details. “The relationship with Russia is certainly on a low burner, there are no other words for it,” he said.
Navalny wanted sanctions for oligarchs
Tackling the four officials is not what Navalny himself hoped for. He spoke with MEPs at the end of November and called on Brussels to impose sanctions against immense Russian oligarchs. If they can no longer dock their luxury yachts in the ports of Monaco and Barcelona, they will put pressure on Putin to change the course, Navalny argues.
CCEit on 3 previously made this video about Navalny: