After a video meeting of the foreign ministers, it became clear on Monday that there would be no new sanctions against Russia for the time being. Borrell, the European Union’s head of foreign affairs, warns that this could change quickly, but for now, it is all about waiting. The reason for the hesitation now is that sanctions have already been issued in response to the Navalny case in particular.
There are serious concerns on the European side about the position of the Russian opposition leader, who returned from Germany to Russia in January after an alleged Russian poisoning attempt. There he disappeared into the dungeon. On Sunday, European Commission President von der Leyen called on the Russians to quickly provide Navalny with medical assistance.
EU ministers were briefed on Monday by their Ukrainian counterparts. Meanwhile, 150,000 Russian soldiers are said to have gathered on the border with Ukraine, setting off alarm bells in European capitals. According to Borrell, this is the largest number of Russian soldiers ever on that border. “A clear sign of concern,” the Spaniard said.
Weapons of the Czech Republic
And there’s more going on. The Czechs deported 18 Russian diplomats on Saturday because they may have participated in an attack on a Czech weapons depot in 2014. The Czechs report a case similar to the poisoning of former secret agent Skripal and his daughter in 2018 in Salisbury, United Kingdom.
Then not only did the British take action to expel the diplomats, but a group of European countries and the United States followed suit, sending a clear signal. Now that didn’t happen. According to Borrell, the Czechs did not request this.