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The European sanctions constitute a form of pressure exerted in connection with a court case that was prosecuted under Russian law.
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday said it is disappointing that the European Union (EU) foreign ministers had decided to prepare new sanctions against Russian citizens "under a far-fetched pretext."
Previously, Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said that the EU foreign affairs ministers had agreed to impose restrictive measures against those responsible for the "arrest, sentencing and persecution" of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
On Feb. 20, a Moscow court found Navalny guilty of defaming World War II veteran Ignat Artyomenko, whom the Russian opposition figure called a "traitor" and "shame of the country". He was ordered to pay a fine of US$11,480.
"Navalny does not admit his guilt in the case. His lawyers claim the 'groundless' and 'politically motivated' charges are aimed at stopping his anti-corruption investigations and preventing him from participating in the elections," RT reported.