Moscow | Russia on Tuesday announced sanctions against European officials, in retaliation for measures adopted in October by the EU after the alleged poisoning of the country’s main opponent, Alexei Navalny.
The Russian announcement comes the day after the broadcast of a telephone conversation in which Mr. Navalny claims to have tricked a Russian Special Services (FSB) agent into admitting the poisoning.
Russian diplomacy said “it has expanded the list of representatives of EU member countries banned from entering the territory of the Russian Federation”. She did not release the names.
The Foreign Ministry explained that it judged the European sanctions targeting six Russian personalities, including Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the FSB, “unacceptable”, “under the pretext of their alleged participation in the incident involving Citizen Navalny”.
These counter-sanctions were announced to the representatives of the embassies of France, Germany and Sweden summoned to the ministry for the occasion.
These are the three countries whose laboratories have identified a neurotoxic substance of the Novichok type in the body of the opponent, then hospitalized in Germany.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had warned in mid-November that the counter-sanctions would target “top executives of the German and French aircraft”.
Russia also accuses Berlin, but also Paris and Stockholm and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of not handing over their files involving Novichok, a substance developed for military purposes during the Soviet era.
She assures that Mr. Navalny had no poison in his body when he was hospitalized in Siberia, and that for lack of cooperation from the Europeans, no investigation can be opened in Russia.