Russia may expect a new, massive portion of sanctions from the West in the near future already. Most likely, it will be connected with the case of Alexey Navalny. If we talk about the European Union, then there are quite a few options to consider.
We can get an idea of what the new sanctions might be from the recent statements that German politicians have made recently. It is unlikely that other EU countries will seriously object if the Germans propose a "package" of restrictive measures against Russia.
In the German Bundestag, the Greens are the most consistent supporters of sanctions against Russia. It is this party that has consistently insisted on putting a stop to the construction of Nord Stream 2. In fact, representatives of this party believe that the most sensitive restrictive measure for Russia would be the cessation of the construction of the gas pipeline. In general, this point of view does not relate to how the Navalny case develops.
Jurgen Trittin, a member of the foreign policy committee of the Bundestag from the "Greens" faction, offers another option for sanctions. There is nothing new to it, but still: the official proposes the funds of large Russian entrepreneurs be arrested. It goes about those individuals who amassed their fortunes through corruption. Trittin believes that such sanctions would be really effective, Deutsche Welle reports.
One is left to wonder how to prove that this or that person received their funds illegally. Jurgen Trittin has an answer to that:
These are rather abstract recommendations, to say the least. If all legal procedures are followed, the result is not going to materialise soon. Most likely, it is not going to meet the expectations of those who initiated the sanctions.
Renata Alt, an expert of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) faction in Central, Southeast and Eastern Europe, supports the idea of introducing personal sanctions against Russian security forces, similarly to how it happened in Belarus.
In addition, she considers it possible to introduce a moratorium for the construction of Nord Stream 2. This idea becomes increasingly attractive in the EU. It goes about putting the construction on hold for some time, and it is not going to resume until the Russian side changes its stance with regard to the investigation into the circumstances of Alexei Navalny poisoning, Renata Alt believes.
It is worthy of note that the position of the German government regarding Nord Stream 2 remains unchanged: the project must be implemented. Nevertheless, a new "portion" of pressure on Berlin is guaranteed.
What about Moscow? Moscow hopes that Europe will not jeopardise the prospects of relations with Russia because of the Navalny case.
"We hope that such nonsense as linking the prospects of the Russian-EU relations with the case of this prisoner will not happen," Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said commenting on the upcoming visit of the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, to Russia. "We do not intend to react to any mentoring statements nor do we intend to take them into account," Peskov added.
An intense movement of NATO aircraft was reported at Poland's Rzeszow airfield near the Ukrainian border