February 19, 2024

Sweden summons Russia ambassador, seeks sanctions over Navalny death

US to announce new Russia sanctions after Navalny's death


Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he summoned Russia’s ambassador on Monday over the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Billstrom also called for the European Union to consider “a new sanctions regime targeting the internal repression in Russia.”

The Russian ambassador was summoned “in connection with the death of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny,” Billstrom said in a statement.

Germany and Lithuania also summoned the Russian envoys in their capitals over the death of the 47-year-old opposition leader on Monday.

“The EU must take action against the political oppression in Russia. This is particularly important given the fact that on February 16, Alexei Navalny died in Russian captivity,” Billstrom added.

“A sanctions regime of this kind would provide additional opportunities to take action against Russian government representatives and officials involved in human rights violations.”

The EU has already ordered widespread sanctions against the Russian state and officials over the Ukraine war and EU ministers on Monday considered the scope for more action at a meeting in Brussels.

Billstrom said Sweden had “taken the initiative for the EU to investigate” new action.

EU officials concede it will be difficult to impose further major action after Navalny’s death.

But EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said he expected member states to propose fresh sanctions on those directly responsible for Navalny’s treatment, including in Russia’s prison system.

He said Brussels would rename its global human rights sanctions blacklist after Navalny in a symbolic move.