David Sassoli / REUTERS

President of the European Parliament David Sassoli has called for tougher sanctions against Russian officials.

He announced this in an interview for Germany's Funke Media Group, Deutsche Welle's Ukrainian service reported.

"We need to tighten sanctions against Russian officials, as well as establishing closer contacts with the population and civil society and supporting Russian dissidents, NGOs and independent media," he said.

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Sassoli recalled that the interaction between the European Union and Russia is "very tense" against the backdrop of the poisoning and imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as the war in Ukraine's Donbas. What is more, Russia-Belarus relations are only getting stronger after a forced landing of a Ryanair plane and the arrest of former editor-in-chief of NEXTA Roman Protasevich.

On April 30, 2021, Russia put President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, the prosecutor of Berlin and six more EU citizens on the stoplist. Such measures were a response to the sanctions imposed by the Council of the European Union against six Russian citizens on March 2 and March 22.

Sanctions against Russia

  • On March 2, 2021, restrictive measures were introduced against Director of the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation Alexander Kalashnikov, Director of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Bastrykin, Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov, and Director of the Federal Service of the National Guard Viktor Zolotov. The restrictive measures are associated with serious violations of human rights in Russia.
  • On March 22, 2021, the Council of the European Union imposed sanctions on 11 people and four organizations from Russia, China, and several other countries for their involvement in gross violations of human rights. From Russia, two officials responsible for the persecution of sexual minorities in Chechnya came under sanctions. These are chief of the Interior Ministry's department for the town of Argun, the Chechen Republic, Russia, Ayub Kataev and commander of the Terek subdivision Abuzaid Vismuradov.
  • Ukraine has backed European Union sanctions over Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's imprisonment.