Russia threatens to freeze dialogue with EU over Navalny caseEuropost
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday warned that Moscow could freeze its contacts with the EU in response to its sanctions over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, news wires reported. The tough statement comes a day after the EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Russian officials and organizations blamed for Navalny’s poisoning with a Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
“We probably simply have to temporarily stop talking to those people in the West who are responsible for foreign policy and don’t understand the need for mutually respectful dialogue,” Lavrov said at a foreign policy conference attended by experts in Moscow. He specifically pointed at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s recent statements ruling out a partnership with Russia, saying that scenario will play out if that’s what the EU wants. “Russia wants to understand whether it’s possible to do any business with the EU in the current conditions,” Lavrov added.
At Monday’s meeting in Luxembourg, France and Germany urged their EU partners to freeze the assets of those suspected of involvement and ban them from traveling in Europe under sanctions to combat the use and spread of chemical weapons.
At a meeting in Brussels later on Wednesday the EU ambassadors reached an agreement to sanction six individuals and one organization from Russia over the poisoning of Navalny. The asset freezes and travel bans are to be finalized in writing and could be implemented within days, dpa reported. According to the EU sources, cited by the agency, the targeted individuals include officials from Russia's security apparatus, while the entity in question is the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology. The individuals' names were not known.