We are also talking about the possible poisoning of Navalny, Price added. In early February, a group of US Senators introduced a bill to Congress, which provides for sanctions against the persons involved in it and the imprisonment of the oppositionist. Among the possible sanctions in the document are the freezing of assets and the refusal to issue visas. The names and positions of persons who may fall under the restrictions are not named. The document also invites the US administration to determine whether the Russian authorities have violated international agreements banning the use of chemical and biological weapons.
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The Kremlin responded by saying that it was accustomed to threats and sanctions from the United States. Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov offered wait until the bill is adopted, and see “in what direction” the American legislators will act, while he called the very fact of introducing the document “sanctions reflexes.”
Navalny was detained on January 17 at Sheremetyevo airport. The oppositionist returned to Russia from Germany, where he underwent treatment and rehabilitation. German military toxicologists, and later specialists from Sweden, France and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said they found traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group in Navalny’s body. Russian doctors ruled out the version of the poisoning of the politician, citing metabolic disorders as the main diagnosis. Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations of involvement in the incident with the oppositionist.
Navalny was arrested for 30 days. The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) accused the oppositionist of violating the conditions of the probationary period in the Yves Rocher case and demanded that he be replaced with a real one. On February 2, the Simonovsky court granted the department’s request. Taking into account the term already spent under house arrest in 2014, Navalny will serve his sentence in a colony for two years and eight months. He himself did not admit guilt and linked the persecution to his political activities.
After his arrest and court ruling in many Russian cities, Navalny’s supporters took to the streets in support of him. The actions took place on January 23, 31 and February 2 – after the trial. During them, about 12 thousand people were detained, OVD-Info reported, the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not provide official data. The actions were not coordinated with the authorities.
The European Union also pondered over the sanctions. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell statedthat the question of possible restrictions against Russia due to the verdict of Navalny and the reaction of the authorities to the protests in his support will be raised at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries of the unification in late February.
Official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova statedthat the West does not need any excuses to impose the next sanctions against Russia: “If it exists, they will get it from the darkest corner, if it does not exist, they will invent it or create it.”