UK Government working ‘at pace’ on new Russia sanctions after Navalny death


The UK Government is working “at pace” to introduce new sanctions against the Russian government following the death of Alexei Navalny, a minister has told MPs.

Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty described the death of the Russian opposition leader last week as a “murder” – in a toughening of language by the British government against Moscow.

Mr Docherty called on the Russian authorities to tell Mr Navalny’s family where his body is and said his death must be “investigated fully and transparently”.

In the wake of Mr Navalny’s death being announced last Friday, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron hinted there could be further sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s regime.

These would be in addition to those already in place following the poisoning of Mr Navalny four years ago and the invasion of Ukraine.

Downing Street had declined to comment on the nature of those sanctions earlier on Monday.

But but pressed by shadow foreign office minister Stephen Doughty in the Commons, Mr Docherty said: “It would be premature to comment on the prospect of future sanctions, in addition to the sanctions that have already been put in place with regard to his poisoning.

“But I can assure the gentleman and the House that we are working at pace and looking at all options in that regard.”

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee, urged Mr Docherty to refer to Mr Navalny’s death as a “murder”.

She said: “Alexei Navalny was murdered. It is important that we in this house call it out for what it was because that is what he deserves.”

The minister replied: “She is right to use the word murder.”

He added: “Mr Navalny dedicated his life with great bravery to exposing corruption. He called for free and fair politics and held the Kremlin to account. He was an inspiration to millions and many Russians felt that gave them a voice.

“The Russian authorities saw him as a threat. President Putin fear to even speak his name Putin’s Russia imprisoned him on fabricated charges, poisoned him, and sent him to an Arctic penal colony.

“Mr Navalny was a man of huge courage and iron will. Even from his remote prison so he persisted in advocating for the rights of the Russian people.

“No one should doubt the dreadful nature of the Russian system. Years of mistreatment at the hands of the state had a serious effect on Mr Navalny’s health. His death must be investigated fully and transparently.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It is very clear that the Russian authorities saw him as a threat and that is why they imprisoned him on fabricated charges.

“The fact that the FSB (the Russian federal security service) poisoned him with a banned nerve agent and then sent him to an Arctic penal colony … his death must be fully investigated, and all of those in the Russian regime must be held to account.”

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