The European Union is punishing six Russians and a Russian organization for their part in the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Their European financial assets are frozen and the six will no longer enter the EU, say insiders.
Russia denies it has anything to do with the Navalny assassination attempt. But the use of the nerve agent novichok, to which only Russian security services have access, cannot have gone outside Russia, the EU believes.
Navalny became very ill during a flight in Russia in August. He was allowed to be transferred to Germany for treatment. There, experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), among others, found that the politician had been poisoned with a banned nerve poison.
Insiders have previously expressed the expectation that the measures will affect officials of the Russian military intelligence service GRU.
The Kremlin calls the EU’s move “unacceptable” and says it is not “ready” to accept it.
Moscow is questioning dialogue with the EU, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has previously done. Russia cannot keep consultations with the EU going alone, the Kremlin said.