Tag Archives: Alexei Navalny

EU: Germany urges sanctions against Russia | News | DW | Instant News

The foreign ministers from EU member states met in Brussels on Monday morning to discuss the possibility of imposing further sanctions against Russia after a crackdown on supporters of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The meeting will also include a video conference with new US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

European diplomats plan to impose asset freezes and visa bans on individuals responsible for repressive measures against protesters and Navalny himself.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke to the press before the meeting expressing his support for sanctions and keeping channels of dialogue with Russia open.

“I support the order to prepare additional sanctions, a list of specific people,” said Maas upon his arrival to the talks.

“At the same time we need to talk about how to maintain a constructive dialogue with Russia, even if relations have definitely bottomed out,” he added.

The European Union and Russia are on a collision course

Eight EU foreign ministers, as well as several EU ambassadors, met with two of Navalny’s close allies on Sunday evening ahead of the talks. One of his allies, Leonid Volkov, told AFP news agency that meeting attendees had “spoken of targeted personal sanctions against Putin’s closest allies and people guilty of gross human rights violations.”

Gabrielius Landsbergis, minister of foreign affairs Lithuania, which organized the discussions on Sunday, said “the greatest hopes for [Monday] is that we will make a unanimous decision on the list of “to be sanctioned.”

Relations between Russia and the EU continue to collapse despite a visit by EU foreign police chief Josep Borrell to Moscow, widely considered a disaster.

Borrell himself admitted before Monday’s meeting, saying: “It is clear that Russia is on a confrontational path with the European Union.”

European Union years of sanctions against Russia

The European Union sanctioned a number of individuals, including a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in October after the poisoning of critics of the Navalny government with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. Russia responded with its own individual sanctions, including expulsion of three EU diplomats announced during Borrell’s journey.

Russia has been hit with sanctions following the annexation of Crimea and its support for rebels in Ukraine.

But Russia also witnessed a wave of protests after police arrested Navalny on his return to the country after being treated for poisoning in Germany. The political activist was sentenced to nearly three years in prison. That European Court of Human Rights decided that Navalny’s sentence broke the law.

ab / rc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)


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Report: Yulia Navalnaya, wife of Alexei Navalny, in Germany | News | DW | Instant News

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, reportedly flew to Germany on Wednesday, Interfax news agency reported, citing “good sources of information.”

Navalnaya took a flight from Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport to Frankfurt, according to a Russian news outlet.

This development was later reported by Germany Glass magazine. Although initial reports seemed to hint at the possibility that he had fled Russia, according to Spiegel Yulia Navalnaya is in Germany for a personal visit.

In January, Kremlin critic, Navalny arrested on his return to Moscow after he had spent months in Germany recovering from a poisoning attack he believed the Russian government ordered. The Kremlin denies any wrongdoing.

DW from DW, Natalia Smolentceva tweeted from Frankfurt Airport: “Waiting for Yulia Navalnaya. A passenger from the plane confirmed that she was on board.”

The prison sentence sparked protests

A Russian court later sentenced Navalny to 3 1/2 years in prison on charges of violating the probation provisions of the 2014 embezzlement sentence.

The crackdown on mass protests after Navalny was jailed in Jaunary led to the detention of 11,000 people and the prosecution of several of his top aides, such as his spokesman, Kira Yarmysh, who is currently under house arrest.

Navalnaya was among those detained but later released.

Previous on Wednesday, Russia issues an arrest warrant for Leonid Volkov, Navalny’s other close aide.

You / dj (Interfax, Reuters)


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Germany’s Steinmeier angered Kyiv with his comments in Nord Stream, WWII | News | DW | Instant News

The Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin on Tuesday slammed the “questionable historical argument” made by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier regarding the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Andriy Melnyk’s reaction came as officials from Ukraine and many other European countries grew increasingly frustrated by the German government’s insistence on completing the project and effectively doubling the amount of gas Germany imports from Russia.

In an interview with a German newspaper Rheinische Post, Steinmeier defended the pipeline, saying that fuel sales were “one of the last bridges between Russia and Europe”.

“I believe that a burning bridge is not a sign of strength,” said Steinmeier.

“For us Germans, there is another dimension,” said the president, noting that June will mark 80 years since the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. He said 20 million Soviet citizens died in World War II.

“There is a phase of partnership that pays off, but more often there is terrible bloodshed,” Steinmeier said.

“This does not justify the mistakes in Russian politics today, but we must not forget the bigger picture,” he added. “Yes, we live in the face of a difficult relationship, but there is a past before and a future after.”

Ukraine is not happy

Melnyk said Steinmeier’s stance was met with “shock and anger” in Kyiv. The comments “deeply touched” the hearts of the Ukrainian people, said the ambassador, according to Germany’s DPA news agency.

Steinmeier’s comments ignored Nazi Germany’s Ukrainian victims, Melnyk said. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union during the war, and millions of Ukrainians also lost their lives. Kyiv is currently engaged in a prolonged conflict with Moscow, and the settlement of the pipeline could deprive Ukraine of its precious gas transit fees.

On Tuesday, Steinmeier’s office dismissed Melnyk’s complaint, saying it was met with “complete ignorance”.

“The text of the interview speaks for itself,” they said.

Face the heat

When asked about what the Biden government has contacted about the pipes, which one previous Trump administration sanctions, Steinmeier said the dialogue “on this issue has not even started.”

Germany is under pressure to continue work on the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea. France told Germany last week that it was have to stop production because Russia arrested and sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to more than 2.5 years in prison. Germany demands that Navalny be released.

Pipeline construction resumed earlier this month. Only 150 kilometers (93 miles) of pipeline of more than 2,300 long pipes remains to be built as construction continues.


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German Minister: Don’t associate Navalny with Nord Stream 2 | News | DW | Instant News

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said German reaction to the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny should not be associated with development Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, in an interview with the German daily published on Sunday.

“Business relationships and business projects that have existed for decades are one thing and serious human rights violations and our reaction to them is another,” Altmaier told the newspaper. Photo on Sunday.

Altmaier’s remarks followed remarks on Friday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also warned against linking the two issues. It came after Russia expelled other German and European diplomats, accusing them of taking part in an “illegal” protest against Navalny’s imprisonment.

Altmaier told the newspaper that contractors should continue building the controversial pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 will double shipments of Russian natural gas to Germany. The US and some European Union countries such as Poland have opposed the project, claiming that it would increase Germany’s dependence on Russia for gas.

The controversial project is almost over.

US President Joe Biden described the pipeline as a “bad deal for Europe,” and his administration is expected to impose further sanctions on companies that operate the pipeline.


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Germany, Poland and Sweden condemn expulsion of Russian diplomats over Navalny’s protests, World News | Instant News

Germany, Poland and Sweden condemn the expulsion of Russian diplomats from three European countries for allegedly taking part in protests in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Navalny, President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic, was jailed this week for nearly three years for a parole offense he called a sham, an act condemned by the West.

He was arrested on January 17 upon his return from treatment in Germany, where he was flown in August after falling ill from what German officials concluded was poisoning with a military grade nerve agent. The Kremlin has questioned whether Navalny was poisoned and has denied being blamed for his illness.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday “We consider this expulsion unjustifiable. We believe it is another aspect that can be observed at this time of Russia that is quite far from the rule of law.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said earlier that Moscow’s decision to declare diplomats from Poland, Germany and Sweden as persona non grata would not be answered.

Maas added that the German diplomat concerned was “merely fulfilling his duty … informing himself of developments on the ground in a legitimate manner”.

Also read: Russia expels diplomats from European countries because of Navalny’s protests

France’s Macron also took Germany’s stance, saying he was “completely in line and in solidarity” with his EU counterparts on the issue.

He also condemned Russia’s “most resolute” decision to expel European diplomats.

Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the Russian ambassador to Warsaw after Russia Friday morning said it was expelling diplomats from Poland, Germany and Sweden.

The foreign ministry said the decision “will contribute to the further deepening of the crisis in the bilateral relations between our countries”.

The ministry said the diplomat was working at the Polish consulate in Saint Petersburg and expressed “regret” and “concern” over the move.

The Russian ambassador was informed “that the relevant Polish diplomat is carrying out its duties as a result of diplomatic status in accordance with the Vienna Convention,” the ministry added.

The announcement of the expulsion comes hours after top EU diplomat Josep Borrell met Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow and described the bloc’s relations with Russia as “rock bottom” above Navalny’s imprisonment.

Despite close trade ties and energy interdependence, Russia’s political relations with the European Union deteriorated after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.


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