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EU agrees to sanction 30 Russians over Alexei Navalny’s death

Sanctions will include travel bans and asset freezes on prison officials responsible for Navalny’s treatment.

EU countries will impose sanctions on 30 Russian officials over the death of leading Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, according to the bloc’s foreign policy chief.

“We agreed to sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Alexei Navalny,” Josep Borrell said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, died in an Arctic prison in February where he was being held in harsh conditions.

Officials have said the European Union would follow the United States and Britain in imposing travel bans and asset freezes on prison officials responsible for Navalny’s treatment.

The names of those sanctioned by the EU are set to be released in the coming days.

The agreement to sanction those responsible for Navalny’s death comes after Russian leader Vladimir Putin claimed a new six-year term in elections denounced by the West as a sham.

Navalny rose to prominence during massive pro-democracy protests in Russia in 2011-2012. 

The Kremlin critic was barred from running in a 2018 presidential ballot because of a fraud conviction that the US and EU criticised as politically motivated.

He fell ill in August 2020 on a flight to Moscow after meeting activists in the Siberian city of Tomsk. 

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international watchdog, confirmed a nerve agent from the banned Novichok group was used in the poisoning.

The opposition leader was transferred to a remote Arctic prison colony in late December from a jail outside Moscow.

In his last post on X, formerly Twitter, on 14 February, he reported that he’d been sentenced to 15 days in a punishment cell for the fourth time since he’d arrived there.

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