EU sanctions against Russia possible - Polish FM

Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has said the EU could impose sanctions on Russia owing to the detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Sunday.

Navalny was arrested within minutes of his first visit to Russia since he was almost killed in a nerve agent attack in August that he has blamed on Vladimir Putin.

Rau, who discussed the situation with the EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell in Brussels on Monday, told PAP that Moscow is showing no willingness to "respect human rights or protect the independent circles of civil society."

He added that "there is a chance" that the EU will take concrete measures, such as sanctions, against Russia.

"Poland has submitted proposals on the situations when the (EU) sanction’s regime for violating human rights should be applied,” said the minister. “Navalny's case is not the only one in this context. Earlier, Poland raised the case of Yuri Dmitriev, a Russian historian who was brought to trial and was deprived of his right to a defence.”

The minister added that Poland believes that the protection of human rights and the promotion of civil society “is the most important” point of the five principles the EU adopted in 2016 to guide its relations with Russia.

"According to Poland this issue should take precedence over the others, but some EU countries do not share this opinion,” said Rau. “The earlier attempt to poison Navalny shows that Russia is not following the rules."