Moscow/Brussels: The European Union (EU) is preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia over its action against Alexei Navalny. Russia has reacted sharply to the possible move, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warning that Russia could use the alternative of war to maintain peace. This time, Lavrov also threatened that Russia could completely sever ties with the EU. As a result, tensions between Russia and the EU are likely set to worsen significantly.
Alexei Navalny, a staunch opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been arrested and jailed. Navalny supporters have started holding extensive protests, which have continued for three weeks in various cities across Russia. The United States and European nations have demanded Navalny’s release and have hinted at sanctions for pressurising Russia. After that, a severe reaction emerged from Russia.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said as he issued a warning that ‘The European Union is preparing to impose fresh sanctions against Russia. In that case, Russia could take steps to sever ties with the bloc. The EU had imposed sanctions on Russia in the past, and newer sanctions could threaten our economy. Russia does not want isolation from the world, although it is preparing for such an event if the need arises. If you want peace, you have to be ready for war.’
A few days ago, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had visited Russia. Rather than improving, the relations between Russia and the EU have only become worse. On Tuesday, Borrell warned that he was going to take the initiative for sanctions against Russia. At the same time, he accused the Russian authorities of not being keen on improving relations with Europe. ‘We will soon propose sanctions against Russia,’ Borrell said. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has also hinted at imposing stricter sanctions on Russia in the wake of the Navalny case.
Meanwhile, Clare Daly, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Ireland, has slammed the EU over its action against Russia. Daly claimed that the EU was forcefully turning Russia into a phantom enemy for geopolitical reasons. Also, the minister went on to criticise the EU’s ‘Russiaphobic’ policies. The parliamentarian rebuked the EU and said, it is pursuing policies with double standards, one for Russia and another for the rest of the world and thereby must not lecture others on democracy.