The EU on Thursday decided to impose sanctions on six individuals and one entity from Russia for their alleged involvement in poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
“The Council today imposed restrictive measures against six individuals and one entity involved in the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny, who was poisoned with a toxic nerve agent of the ‘Novichok’ group on 20 August 2020 in Russia,” said the bloc in a statement.
“The adopted restrictive measures consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for individuals, and an asset freeze for the entity. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed,” it added.
“The designation of the six persons and one entity linked to the Navalny case took place in the framework of the restrictive measures against the proliferation and use of chemical weapons.”
The sanctions list includes Russian intelligence chief Aleksandr Bortnikov, two deputy defense ministers, Pavel Popov and Aleksey Krivoruchko, Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation Sergei Kiriyenko, and Andrei Yarin, the chief of the Presidential Domestic Policy Directorate.
Sanctions also included the State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology in Russia as it is “a state research institute with the responsibility for the destruction of chemical weapons stocks inherited from the [former] Soviet Union.”
Navalny, 44, a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, felt sick on Aug. 20 on a flight to Moscow. After an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, he spent two days in a Russian hospital before being sent to Berlin for treatment.
After running tests in several labs, German officials announced that Navalny was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok, which was also used, according to the UK government, in a 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British town of Salisbury.
Russian authorities deny any involvement in the case, saying chemical weapons are neither developed nor produced in the country since the last chemical round was destroyed in 2017, as verified and certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Following treatment, Navalny was discharged from a Berlin hospital on Sept. 23.
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