EU imposes penalties against 6 Russians over Navalny poisoning

BRUSSELS — The European Union on Thursday enforced sanctions on six Russian officers as well as one organization for the poisoning of Russian resistance leader Alexei Navalny using a Soviet-era neural agent.

The conclusion was agreed upon by one of the 27 EU envoys to Brussels.

The list comprises two high-level officials at the Presidential Executive Office, a manager of the national security agency, and two deputy ministers from the Russian defense ministry.

EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to enforce the sanctions, after having a push by France and Germany to freeze the assets of those suspected of participation and prohibit them from travel in Europe under sanctions to fight the spread and use of chemical weapons.

Navalny, an anti-corruption investigator and important political rival of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 through a national trip in Russia. He had been flown to Germany for treatment two weeks afterward and remains recovering there.

Last week, evaluations conducted in labs directed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons verified that Navalny was poisoned by a Novichok neural agent.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview Wednesday that”the Germans aren’t likely to offer some details, despite all legal and international duties. We react in kind. This can be diplomatic practice”

On Tuesday, Lavrov indicated that Moscow may even stricter ties.

“We probably only need to temporarily quit speaking to those individuals from the West that is responsible for foreign policy and also do not know the need for mutually respectful dialogue,” he explained.

Lavrov specifically directed at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s recent announcements ruling out a partnership with Russia, stating that the situation will play out if that is exactly what the EU needs.

“Russia would like to know whether it is possible to do some business with the EU from the recent states,” Lavrov said in a foreign policy summit attended by specialists in Moscow.

In a telephone call, Tuesday with Lavrov, EU foreign policy leader Josep Borrell insisted the EU”wants to keep open channels of communication with Russia and also to boost collaboration on issues of mutual interest,” according to an announcement from Borrell’s office.

Borrell also underlined that Moscow” has to do its utmost to research this offense entirely in complete transparency and to fully cooperate” with the OPCW, which the EU” will continue to defend its interests and values, such as respect for international law and basic rights.”