Posted on Feb 21, 2021
European Union foreign ministers are expected to approve fresh sanctions on Russia on Monday over the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a crackdown on protests.
The top diplomats from the 27-member states are due to meet in Brussels for talks that will also include a wide-ranging video conference with new U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The move to target the Kremlin comes two weeks after EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell was caught in a diplomatic ambush in Moscow that enraged member states.
Capitals are eyeing using the EU's new human rights sanctions regime for the first time to hit individuals responsible for the clampdown with asset freezes and visa bans, diplomats said.
"I expect a political agreement to be reached," a senior European diplomat told AFP.
"Then experts from the member states should work on the names."
The mood towards Moscow has hardened in the wake of Borrell's disastrous trip to Russia, during which Moscow announced it was expelling three European diplomats and rebuffed talk of cooperation.
"They rejected out of hand any dialogue that was proposed," a senior EU official said.
The EU has already placed six Russian officials on a blacklist over the poisoning of Navalny with Novichok, a nerve agent.
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