[:en]Protests deserted for now, Russian opposition focuses on leveraging Europe in opposition to Putin[:]

[:en]Protests deserted for now, Russian opposition focuses on leveraging Europe in opposition to Putin[:]


Moscow — Russia’s overseas ministry accused Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s allies of treachery on Tuesday for discussing potential sanctions in opposition to Russia with different nations. The accusation of treason was levelled because the opposition chief’s imprisonment drove an more and more giant wedge between Moscow and its European Union neighbors.

Navalny, 44, was arrested last month instantly upon his return to Russia from Germany, the place he spent 5 months recovering from poisoning with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. Final week he was sentenced to 2 years and eight months in jail on prices he is dismissed as politically motivated.

This week two of Navalny’s outstanding allies urged Western envoys throughout a video name to impose sanctions on senior Russian enterprise and political figures, whom they described as members of President Vladimir Putin’s interior circle, as wells as judges and senior safety officers.

“These are not at all sanctions in opposition to Russia. These are sanctions in opposition to wallets and propagandists, the closest circle and pillars of Vladimir Putin,” Leonid Volkov, a detailed Navalny affiliate who lives in exile outdoors Russia however took half within the name, wrote on social media.  

Representatives from Britain, the U.S., Canada and Ukraine have been concerned within the two-hour dialogue convened by Poland, based on a report by the French information company AFP.

Russian overseas ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has repeatedly criticized Navalny’s allies as “brokers of affect” and “traitors” appearing on behalf of the NATO army alliance. She claimed they’d obtained directions on easy methods to disrupt Russian politics throughout Monday’s video name.

Germany, Poland and Sweden introduced on Monday that senior Russian diplomats can be expelled from these nations in a tit-for-tat response to the Kremlin’s expulsion of three European diplomats. The EU states made no bones about it being retaliation for Moscow’s choice final week to expel envoys from the three nations, whom the Kremlin accused of taking part in large protests in assist of Navalny final month. 

The European nations all denied that their ambassadors in Moscow had joined the protests.

Russia referred to as the expulsion of its diplomats in response “unfounded.”

Sergey Lavrov - Josep Borrell meeting in Moscow
EU Excessive Consultant for Overseas Affairs and Safety Coverage, Josep Borrell (R) meets Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, February 5, 2021.

Russian Overseas Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Company/Getty

The Russian overseas ministry introduced the European envoys have been being booted out on the identical day that EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell visited Moscow and met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Borrell mentioned he’d discovered of the expulsions by way of social media. 

Some members of the European Parliament even referred to as for Borrell’s resignation after the go to, given the embarrassing timing of his handshake with Lavrov as EU envoys have been being ordered to pack their baggage.

On Tuesday, Borrell mentioned the EU was making ready to take motion.

“It will likely be for the member states to determine the subsequent step, however sure this might embody sanctions, and I’ll put ahead concrete proposals,” he mentioned. 

EU overseas ministers are to satisfy later this month to contemplate their response to Navalny’s conviction final week. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has mentioned the Biden administration will coordinate with its allies to carry the Kremlin accountable.

Hundreds of individuals have been detained by police at nationwide anti-Putin rallies in current weeks following Navalny’s arrest upon his return to Russia from Germany. Many detainees have complained of harsh remedy by the police in custody.

Thousands detained during Russian protests


Final week Navalny’s group mentioned that they might put mass-street demonstrations on maintain till the spring, however would proceed to push different nations to extend stress on Russia’s authorities. 

On Tuesday, Volkov referred to as on Navalny’s supporters throughout the nation to stage particular person protests on Valentine’s Day, this Sunday, lighting their cell telephones up for quarter-hour outdoors their houses. 

He mentioned the motto of the protest can be, “Love is stronger than worry.”

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