Russia will sanction German and French officials in retaliation for European Union sanctions on Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Thursday.
The EU sanctioned several Russian officials in October after leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent.
The anti-corruption activist fell into a coma after he was poisoned with the Soviet-era Novichok agent. He was evacuated to Germany, where he is still recovering.
The EU accused Russian security services of complicity in the attack.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the Kremlin had confirmed sanctions in response and that they would soon be announced to Germany and France.
“Since Germany was the driving force behind the European Union’s sanctions connected to Navalny, since these sanctions directly concern senior staff of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation, our response sanctions will mirror them,” Lavrov said.
The Russian sanctions will target senior staff in the offices of the heads of Germany and France, Lavrov said.
Lavrov claimed that Moscow had “reason to believe” the nerve agent entered Navalny’s system during his evacuation flight to Berlin, well after he had fallen ill.
Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said that suggestion was “the most idiotic of them all.”
aw/rt (AFP, Reuters, Interfax)
Russia to sanction France, Germany over Navalny Wire Services/ Deutsche Welle.