In non-binding resolution, EU parliament calls for new anti-Russia sanctions in attempt to stop Nord Stream 2 over Navalny arrest
An EU parliament resolution, backed by 581 MEPs out of 675 present, has directed its member states to ramp up sanctions against Russia to stop the Nord Stream 2 project “once and for all,” linking it to Alexey Navalny’s arrest.
The EU member states should take “an active stance” on the opposition figure’s 30-day arrest in Russia. This is according to a non-binding resolution adopted on Thursday, with 581 votes in favor, 50 against and 44 abstentions.Also on rt.com Alexey Navalny remanded in custody for 30 days after unexpected hearing in police station one day after arriving back in Russia
The list of “significantly tighter” restrictions governments are encouraged to impose against Moscow includes personal sanctions against anyone involved “in the decision to arrest and imprison” the activist, who returned to Russia on January 17 following an almost five-month-long treatment in Germany after an alleged poisoning during a trip to Siberia.
The resolution went further, suggesting EU states should target Russian “oligarchs,” members of President Vladimir Putin’s “inner circle” and “Russian media propagandists” as well. “Additional restrictive measures could also be taken under the new EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime,” a statement published by the EU parliament says.
Another step suggested by the MEPs is putting a stop to the Russian gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2 “once and for all.” The multinational project, which would deliver Russian gas to Europe and particularly to Germany, is currently under construction despite fierce opposition from Washington, which calls it a threat to American and European security interests.
Now, a day after new US President Joe Biden has been sworn into office, the EU parliament resolution calls on the bloc’s member states to “immediately stop the completion of the controversial pipeline.” It would be an ideal moment to “strengthen transatlantic unity in protecting democracy and fundamental values against authoritarian regimes,” the text asserts.Also on rt.com Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in ‘parting gift’
Several European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have repeatedly criticized the US pressure, arguing that Washington is interfering in Europe’s internal affairs to advance its own interests, namely to sell its own liquefied natural gas.
Earlier this week, Russian energy giant Gazprom informed Nord Stream 2 investors that the project could be suspended, even cancelled, after the US told Germany it was imposing new measures based on the CAATSA law (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
Berlin said it could tax American gas imports in response to Washington’s move.
As for the “immediate release” of Navalny – another demand put forward by the EU parliament – it is unlikely to have any effect, since Moscow has already said it would not heed outside calls for the opposition figure’s release.
Navalny is currently accused of violating the terms of a suspended sentence. The opposition figure is facing charges over violation of probation terms related to a previous criminal case. In 2014, he received a three-and-a-half-year sentence, suspended for five years, for embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher.Also on rt.com Russia will ignore Western appeals for release of opposition activist Alexey Navalny, says Putin’s spokesman
His sentence was then extended for another year and was due to expire in late December 2020 but he missed a scheduled check-in with a probation office in Russia while he was in Germany earlier the same month. The Russian penal service then demanded his arrest, arguing the move was deliberate as Navalny’s medical papers from Germany showed he had already recovered by that time.
Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s official spokesman, said earlier that the case is a matter for the Russian prison service and does not require any special intervention from the government.
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