The New York Times (NYT) newspaper has published a list of high-ranking Russian officials against whom the European Union intends to impose sanctions in connection with the use of the Novichok chemical warfare agent against politician Alexey Navalny.
“The European Union will impose sanctions due to the poisoning of Alexey Navalny against the first deputy head of the presidential administration Sergey Kiriyenko, FSB director Alexander Bortnikov, two deputy defense ministers Alexey Krivoruchko and Pavel Popov, head of the president’s internal policy department Andrei Yarin and presidential envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergei Menyailo", - quoted by the Rain message NYT.
All people on the list will be banned from entering the European Union and using European assets.
In addition to six citizens of the Russian Federation, the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) will also fall under the sanctions. It was in this scientific institution that the nerve poison Novichok was developed during the Soviet era.
As FBK project manager Leonid Volkov commented on the situation with Novichok, the meaning of the international reaction to Navalny's poisoning is perfectly read in the official release of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
“It says: blood and urine tests confirmed poisoning with a substance“ structurally similar ”to the substances included in the Annexes to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons 1.A.14 and 1.A.15 at the OPCW session in November 2019, but this another substance not included in the annexes to the convention”, - he said.
"Substances included in the November 2019 list" refers to substances from the Novichok family that were used to poison the Skripals.
“Russia previously reported on their complete destruction, but in 2018 it turned out that Russia still has them. I had to expand the list of prohibited substances. And Russia also voted for this in the OPCW. What does “structurally similar but different” mean? And that means: a new substance of the Novichok's family. As previously stated by Germany, this has now been officially confirmed. That is, Russia can no longer even say “well, there were just some Novichok bottles in the warehouse since the 1980s, we didn’t keep track of them”, - stressed Leonid Volkov.
In his opinion, the statement of the OPCW actually confirms that "now, in 2020, Russia has an active program for the development of new chemical warfare agents of the Novichok class, the wildest violation of all possible and impossible international norms and conventions".
As previously reported, Alexey Navalny fell ill on the plane from Tomsk to Moscow. From the intensive care unit of the Omsk hospital, where he was taken after an emergency landing of the liner, Navalny was taken to the Berlin clinic Charite. German toxicologists found traces of Novichok in his body, and this was subsequently confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The Russian authorities have not yet opened a criminal case into the assassination attempt on Navalny, and officials of the Russian Foreign Ministry promised to respond in a “mirror image” to the sanctions announced by the European Union.