Breaking: Russia to respond to planned US, EU sanctions over Navalny case
Russia says it will respond to planned sanctions by the United States over the case of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, depending on their content and nature.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Monday that the Kremlin’s response to the measures “can be anything.”
“We cannot gauge which factors will influence Washington’s mindset. Our policy is consistent, understandable, well-reasoned,” Ryabkov said.
“We will see what the bottomline is, in the end, and then on our part will evaluate what and how to accept and how to react,” he added.
UN official accuses Russia of poisoning Navalny
In a related development, a United Nations (UN) special rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, accused Russia of being “responsible for the attempted arbitrary killing of Navalny” on Monday.
“We call on the Russian Government to request or to allow an investigation,” she said.
In response to Callamard’s remarks, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow and the UN had a shared objective to find out the truth in the Navalny case.
She pointed out that Russia had repeatedly called on Germany to provide data related to Navalny’s treatment in Berlin.
Zakharova said Callamard’s call for an investigation “will prompt the partners to end the disinformation campaign and start joint work, which should be carried out transparently and on a legal basis.”
Last month, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin over Navalny’s imprisonment.
The EU was expected to formally approve those measures in early March.
Russia to retaliate EU sanctions
Russia has promised to respond to the EU sanctions, as well.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko called the measures “unlawful and self-defeating” but did not specify what steps would be taken in response.
Grushko reiterated that a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the Navalny case constituted interference in Russia’s internal affairs.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled last week to “indicate to the Government of Russia” that it should free Navalny with immediate effect.
Russian Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko said at the time that the ruling “is baseless and unlawful, because it does not contain any reference to any fact or any norm of the law, which would have allowed the court to take this decision.”
President Putin has formerly warned the West against “trying to shackle us with economic and other sanctions.”
The Russian president also said last month that Western powers were exploiting the case of Navalny to “contain” Moscow.