Russia threatens to break relations with the EU if new sanctions are passed

If the European Union applies new sanctions against Russia, this time for the imprisonment of the Kremlin’s main adversary, Alexei Navalni, Russia will completely break relations with Brussels. This was announced Thursday night by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview with controversial presenter Vladimir Soloviov.

“In the event that we see again, as we have already suffered more than once, that sanctions are applied against certain productive sectors, creating risks for our economy even in the most sensitive areas, we do not want to isolate ourselves from the world, but we must be prepared Lavrov declared. In his words, reproducing the old phrase from Roman times “si vis pacem, para bellum”, “if you want peace, prepare for war.”

The head of Russian diplomacy met in Moscow on February 5 with the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, in what was the most obvious staging that has been seen so far of the gap between Brussels and Moscow. Despite numerous disagreements, both nevertheless advocated “keeping all channels of communication open.”

THE CRISIS:

Tense meeting.

On February 5, Borrell and Lavrov meet in Moscow and clash over the EU’s criticism of the Navalni treatment.

Before the Eurocamara.

On the 9th the head of European diplomacy suggests that new sanctions be imposed on Russia.

Kremlin response.

On the 11th, the Foreign Minister threatens a total rupture of relations.

Swell.

At the root of the disagreements is the annexation of Crimea and Russian support for the Ukrainian separatists.

On Tuesday, in an intervention before the European Parliament, Borrell spoke of adopting “concrete measures” to respond to the “anti-democratic and repressive drift” of Russia. The possibility of applying new sanctions will be studied in the Foreign Affairs Council at the end of February. Navalni’s team has already proposed to Brussels a concrete package of sanctions against people in the immediate vicinity of President Vladimir Putin. A final decision could be taken in March within the European Council.

A “simple criminal”

Borrell regretted that the Russian authorities do not want to participate with the EU in a “constructive dialogue” that includes human rights and freedoms in general. But on Wednesday, during a ceremony at the Russian Foreign Ministry on the occasion of “Diplomatic Day”, Lavrov questioned “the dubious interpretation of universal values” that the EU makes in relation to Navalni, whom they consider a ” simple delinquent »with pending accounts with the Justice. In his view, “any attempt by Russia to be independent, to defend its right to pursue its own foreign policy, runs into increasingly fierce resistance from our Western partners.”

Borrell’s demand that Navalni be released a week ago caused Lavrov’s reply about the “procés” prisoners, assuring that “the Catalan independence leaders are in prison for organizing a referendum, a decision that the Spanish justice has not revoked despite German and Belgian courts ruled against. ‘ He also added that “Spain has defended its judicial system and has asked not to doubt its decisions. That is what we want the West to do in terms of reciprocity.

The poisoning and imprisonment of Navalni complicates any rapprochement, but the source of the disagreements between Moscow and Brussels is above all the annexation of Crimea and Russian support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine. On Thursday, at the UN Security Council, France, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany accused Russia of preventing any solution to the conflict.

Moscow will pay Navalni 8,500 euros for “violating his rights”

Russian dissident Alexei Navalni, who this Friday faced a new trial, this time for “defaming” a veteran of World War II, has found that Russia will comply with the sentence issued on November 10, 2020 by the Court European Commission for Human Rights (ECHR) and will compensate him with the sum of 8,500 euros.

Navalni was arrested during a 2012 demonstration against the return to the Kremlin of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the ECHR ruled that his rights and freedoms were violated and he was deprived of a fair trial. Initially, the Russian authorities announced that the sentence would be appealed, but this Friday it was learned that there has been a change in strategy and no such appeal will take place. Navalni, therefore, will receive the 8,500 euros, although he will remain in jail.

The sentence handed down in November is already the third in which the ECHR agrees with the main Russian opposition leader: in 2017 and 2019, also due to “unjust and arbitrary” judicial decisions adopted in the successive minor prison sentences that Navalni suffered between 2012 and 2013 and for the 10-month house arrest in 2014, which was, according to the ECHR, “politically motivated.” He and his brother were found guilty of “fraud and money laundering” in a case involving the Yves Rocher firm and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

That sentence was suspended, but after Navalni returned to Russia on 17 January after dealing with the poisoning suffered last summer in the Siberian city of Omsk while campaigning in Germany, the suspension was lifted. The Simonovsky Court in Moscow then ordered that the remaining two years and eight months to be served must be confined to a penal colony.

This ruling was precisely appealed this Friday by the lawyers of the opposition leader. And while the appeal is resolved, Navalni must remain in the dungeons of the Moscow prison of Matrósskaya Tishiná.

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