In interview, foreign minister Di Maio says Italy would support additional EU sanctions against Russia in response to the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny․
“We have clearly said that what happened with Navalny is unacceptable; we are ready to take new measures.
he important thing is that they are solid from a technical and legal point of view, because they must stand up to appeals in European courts, we have always said that in the face of any kind of sanction,” Di Maio said.
EU ambassadors discussed Navalny’s arrest at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. The opposition leader was detained Sunday immediately upon returning to Moscow from Germany where he spent months recuperating from an assassination attempt, in which he was poisoned with a military grade nerve agent.
During the ambassadors’ meeting, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia immediately urged other EU countries to impose sanctions against Russia should Navalny remain in jail.
A senior diplomat said “there was a substantial consensus” on imposing new sanctions, though some countries were more vocal than others.
Among the countries that pushed for this idea was Poland, three diplomats said. “Navalny’s case is a situation when the sanctions regime for violating human rights should be applied,” said one of the diplomats.
EU foreign ministers will discuss the issue at a meeting on Monday where the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell is expected to make a statement pointing at February 15 as a possible deadline for further measures, said one of the two senior diplomats. But a third senior diplomat said that there was not yet momentum for additional sanctions, and that there were still some sharp differences among EU countries about how best to deal with Russia.