The EU will be able to impose new sanctions on Russia over the three-year imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny
The EU will be able to impose new sanctions on Russia over the three-year imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny beginning today.
The EU, in coordination with the US, has announced sanctions on four Russian officials connected with Navalny’s arrest and sentencing. Despite the show of trans-Atlantic solidarity, Washington’s sanctions expanded upon the EU’s to include Russian intelligence services personnel while also placing import restrictions on military-grade chemicals such as those used in the unsuccessful poisoning of Navalny.
The discrepancy highlights disagreements among EU member states concerning the bloc’s Russia strategy. France, Germany, Spain and Italy all prefer engagement with Moscow, whereas the Baltic states and Poland remain reticent.
Combined US-EU sanctions efforts are unlikely to alter the Kremlin’s crushing of dissent. Although Washington and Brussels may agree on imposing piecemeal sanctions now, coordinating a shared Russia policy will be difficult going forward as Europe asserts its strategic autonomy, and is therefore more likely to treat Russia as an economic and diplomatic partner rather than a geopolitical challenger. Expect Washington to take a more conciliatory approach towards EU-Russia relations, rather than retaining the Trump administration’s overbearing rhetoric, hoping this receptiveness will keep Europe aligned with US interests.
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