France and Germany said on Wednesday they would propose European Union sanctions against Russian individuals after receiving no credible answers from Moscow over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.
Several Western governments have said Russia, which has denied accusations by Navalny that it was involved in the poisoning, must help in investigations or face consequences.
The decision and speed with which Europe’s two main powers agreed to push ahead with sanctions suggests a hardening of the bloc’s diplomacy towards Moscow.
It is in stark contrast to 2018 when it took almost a year for members to agree on sanctions against Russian individuals following a nerve agent attack on a Russian spy in Britain.
“No credible explanation has been provided by Russia so far. In this context, we consider that there is no other plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning than a Russian involvement and responsibility,” Foreign Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.