Selin ATAY-TDO- European Union (EU) foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on four senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin in a mainly symbolic response to the jailing of Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny. The agreement is expected to be formally approved by the EU in early March.

Once he was “poisoned” in the Russia, he received necessary treatment in Berlin. The Kremlin critic was arrested at Moscow airport  and then his arrest sparked protests across the country. A Russian court has sentenced the Navalny to 3.5 years in prison.

Josep Borrell, the EU's official in charge of foreign policy, told reporters the sanctions would be implemented under a new framework. “This new framework will allow the EU to take action against human rights violations around the world,” Borrell said.

The Kremlin, which denies they were behind the poisoning, accuses the EU of interfering in its internal affairs. The European Court of Human Rights, which requested the release of the Navalny on February 17, was accused by Russia because of meddling in its internal affairs.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the EU's decision to sanction as "disappointing." The statement stressed that the EU is turning to "non-functioning" sanctions again, rather than rethinking pressure and sanctions in relations with Russia. Russia called for Navalny's release are "illegal" and "absurd," adding that the sanctions decision was a "repeated wrong step." "This Russian citizen has been found guilty by a Russian court in our country for economic crimes," the statement added.

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