Since releasing the first photo of him and his family post-coma, Russian opposition candidate Alexei Navalny has hurled accusations at Russian President Vladimir Putin claiming one of the world's most powerful leaders took time off from his busy schedule of running Russia to personally mastermind his second alleged poisoning.
German leaders claimed last month that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok, according to an analysis by a military lab. Not that certain German politicians (even some officials in Angela Merkel's coalition government) don't have an interest to try and sabotage relations with Russia right now, ahead of next year's election to decide who will lead a post-Merkel Germany.
Since then, an international chemical weapons agency has claimed to have confirmed the Novichok analysis.
Skeptics questioned how Navalny and the Skripals have all managed to survive alleged Novichok attacks. If the "feared" Soviet nerve agent is truly so deadly, then why have the assailants found it so difficult to deliver a large enough dose to kill their targets?
But western leaders have once again ignored calls urging them not to rush to judgment. According to media reports, the EU is preparing to blacklist at least six people and one entity over Russia's "attempted murder" of Navalny.
Here's more from Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources familiar with Brussels' plans (probably senior diplomats trying to send a threatening 'trial balloon' Putin's way).
Here's more from Bloomberg.
The European Union is poised to blacklist six people and one entity in Russia over the attempted murder of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.
EU member-state envoys in Brussels cleared the way on Wednesday for bloc-wide asset freezes on the Russian officials and the organization as well as travel bans on the individuals, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified before a public announcement. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier that his country will retaliate against the move with reciprocal sanctions.
The identities of the people and entity targeted by the EU will be disclosed when the sanctions take effect, probably on Thursday, according to another official for the 27-nation bloc. The plan to impose penalties is based on a German-French proposal that EU foreign ministers agreed to on Monday.
Russia has repeatedly denied Germany's and Navalny's accusations, and offered to participate in the investigation. As Bloomberg notes, this is just the latest incident involving the EU and Russia, stretching back to Moscow's annexation of Crimea back in 2014.
It's unclear who is being targeted by the sanctions; we imagine we'll learn the identities of the six individuals (as well as the unnamed "entity") today, if not later this week.