In a plenary debate on Wednesday, the Socialists and Democrats strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. The S&D Group will support a resolution on Thursday calling for strong EU reaction and support for an international investigation into the attack.
S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs and negotiator of the resolution on Navalny, Kati Piri MEP, said: “The poisoning of Mr Navalny is the latest in a long string of killings and attempted assassinations of Kremlin opponents and human rights defenders in recent years. The nerve agent used in Navalny’s case is only accessible to the Russian military and secret services. Therefore, the Russian government has a clear political responsibility.”
“The attack on Navalny’s life was an attempt to silence the man who has consistently exposed the Kremlin’s massive corruption, and a chilling warning signal to other government critics in Russia.”
“Now the European Union must send a strong signal to Russia that we will never ignore such a crime and the EU Foreign Affairs Council should next week consider a wide range of possible sanctions, including restrictive measures that could go beyond travel bans and asset freezes against individuals.”
“In light of this serious breach of international law through the use of a chemical nerve agent to kill an influential anti-corruption leader, we welcome the German government’s readiness to reconsider its support for Nord Stream 2.”
S&D coordinator in the EP’s foreign affairs committee, Tonino Picula MEP, added: “After the work by the German laboratories, French and Swedish teams have also now provided evidence that Alexei Navalny almost died after being poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade chemical nerve agent. This is a horrific violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention of which Russia is a signatory and thus breaches international law. We call for light to be fully shed on the circumstances of this reprehensible crime.”
“The Russian government has the duty to conduct a full investigation into this reprehensible crime. The Russian authorities must also participate fully in an impartial international investigation led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).”
“Finally, we call on EU member states to develop a new comprehensive strategy towards Russia with a firm and principled position. Its core must be respect for international law and human rights standards.”