The European Union’s top diplomat announced on Tuesday that Moscow might face a fresh round of sanctions for imprisoning Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, citing that the government has been merciless, increasingly authoritarian and exhibits zero tolerance of the democratic rule of law.
The announcement came after EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, went to Russia last Feb. 5 to express the bloc’s condemnation of the unjust arrest and imprisonment of Navalny, marking the heaviest admonishment that the Russian government ever received since the country’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“The messages sent by Russian authorities during this visit confirmed that Europe and Russia are drifting apart,” the foreign policy chief wrote in his blog after returning from Moscow. “It seems that Russia is progressively disconnecting itself from Europe and looking at democratic values as an existential threat.”
Borrell told the bloc that Russia is treading down “a worrisome authoritarian route,” saying that the possibility “for the development of democratic alternatives” is relatively slim and that the Russian government is “merciless in stifling any such attempts.”
The remarks of the top diplomat urge EU to impose additional sanctions on Moscow and several European nations showed support for Borrell’s threat.
The foreign ministers of the bloc are scheduled to discuss the possible sanctions against the Russian government on Feb. 22 at a meeting in Brussels.
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