ANKARA  – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny urged the EU to impose direct sanctions Friday against oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny said he is not the first or the last in Russia to be is poisoned or killed.

“The main question we should ask ourselves is ‘why are these people poisoning, killing and fabricating elections?’ And the answer is: money,” he told the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee.“So the European Union should target the money and Russian oligarchs, and not just old oligarchs but also new ones like the circle of Mr. Putin.”

He said Russian businessmen buy expensive yachts and properties in European cities such as Barcelona and Monaco, instead of Russia, and sanctions would be welcomed by 99% of Russians.

The EU agreed in October to slap Moscow with new sanctions for “poisoning” the opposition leader.

The “restrictive measures” included a travel ban and an asset freeze for six Russian officials.

Navalny, 44, a fierce critic of Putin, felt sick Aug. 20 on a flight to Moscow. After an emergency landing in Omsk, he spent two days in a hospital before being sent to Berlin for treatment. He is currently in Germany.

After tests in several laboratories, German officials said Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent, 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 and contend that chemical weapons are neither developed nor produced by Russia since the last chemical round was destroyed in 2017, as verified and certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

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