Russia slaps more UK nationals with entry bans over Navalny

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has decided to expand the number of British nationals barred from entering the country in response to the “unacceptable and unfounded” United Kingdom (UK) sanctions over the poisoning of top Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced yesterday.

In October, the European Union (EU) and the UK imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute over what German authorities said was a poisoning in Russia with a nerve agent. The penalties consisted of asset freezes and entry bans. In a statement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the decision to expand the number of British nationals was made in response to “unconstructive and unfriendly actions of the British authorities.”

The ministry didn’t reveal the names or exact number of those barred, saying only that it would be “those who are complicit in ramping up anti-Russian sanctions activities” in the UK.

British ambassador to Russia Deborah Bronnert was summoned to the ministry yesterday and informed about the measures, the statement said.

Last week the ministry announced a similar response to the EU sanctions.

Navalny, a longtime adversary of President Vladimir Putin, fell sick during the August 20 flight in Russia and was flown to Berlin while still in a coma for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.