Members of European Parliament (MEPs) call for more EU sanctions on Russia

The Members of European Parliament  (MEPs) have called for additional sanctions on Russia by the European Union (EU) following the arrest of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, following his return to Russia after five months. 

According to a press release by the European Parliament,  MEPs also demand that EU sanctions currently being applied to Russian officials responsible for poisoning Mr Navalny should be enlarged to cover those involved in his imprisonment. For all such purposes, the EU must not hesitate to use its new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, members stressed. 

Some MEPs also argued that much more must be done to hold the Kremlin effectively accountable for its human rights abuses and for politicising the Russian justice system. Several called on the EU, and some national and regional governments in particular, to finally move ahead with cancelling the remaining work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as a means to impose proper economic sanctions against the Russian government. 

The European Union has also issued a stern condemnation of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny by the authorities in Moscow. On January 18, a Statement from the President of the European Commission following the detention of Alexei Navalny stated: “I condemn the detention of Alexei Navalny yesterday by the Russian authorities, upon his return to Russia. The Russian authorities must immediately release him and ensure his safety. Detention of political opponents is against Russia’s international commitments. We also continue to expect a thorough and independent investigation on the attack on Alexei Navalny’s life. We will monitor the situation closely”. 

Navalny is a Russian opposition political figure who was detained by Russian authorities as he came back to his country after five months. On 20 August 2020, Navalny was hospitalized and left in a serious but stable condition after a Novichok poisoning during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. He was transported to Berlin on a medical evacuation flight and discharged on 22 September.The EU and the UK imposed sanctions over Navalny’s poisoning on six senior Russian officials and a state chemical centre. 

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