Russia Is in for New EU Sanctions, Borrell under Fire after Visit to MoscowPolitics | February 10, 2021, Wednesday // 12:49| views
The European Union is likely to impose new sanctions on Russia over the Navalny case following the unsuccessful visit to Moscow by its top diplomat Josep Borrell, said experts interviewed by Izvestia. Borrell faced criticism in the EU, where his trip was deemed to be a failure.
Of all Russian high-ranking officials, only Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Borrell. The EU top diplomat spent the rest of his time in Moscow in meetings with members of NGOs and the academic community. At a joint press conference, Lavrov castigated the EU as an unreliable partner, while Borrell repeated the usual EU rhetoric without confidence. In the middle of his visit, Moscow expelled three diplomats from the German, Polish and Swedish embassies, saying that they had attended unauthorized rallies in Navalny’s support.
The EU foreign policy chief made far harsher statements upon his return to Brussels. According to him, the tough tone Russia took at the press conference and the expulsion of European diplomats make it clear that the Russian authorities are unwilling to build a more constructive dialogue with the European Union.
There was no positive reaction to Borrell’s Moscow tour in the European media. An EU diplomatic source told Izvestia that there was no improvement in sight in terms of EU-Russia relations.
Borrell announced that on February 22, the foreign ministers of the EU would discuss sanctions against Russian individuals over human rights violations.
"The officials the EU deems to be involved in the Navalny case are highly likely to face individual sanctions. In this case, it would be a political move with no consequences for the Russian economy. However, if they blacklist big businessmen, it will affect markets more," said Director of Programs at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Ivan Timofeev. "The EU will hardly do that at the moment, though," the expert added.
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