What was the basis for [the European Union’s] decision to extend of sanctions? No court decision was issued; not documented evidence of Russia’s involvement has been produced. The matter is repeated with the poisoning incident of the opposition candidate Alexei Navalny. They are trying to punish Russia at any cost with these decisions.
Moscow will respond in kind to the European Union sanctions in the case of Alexei Navalny, and these measures could affect bilateral relations with Germany and France. These are unilateral, illegal measures, like previous sanctions and the UN Security Council is the only body that can impose sanctions.
This is a Kremlin narrative which disputes the capacity of the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions against Russia, insisting that the United Nations Security Council is the only relevant international actor to do so. However, the EU has the competence to do so independently of the UN. The EU applies sanctions not only to implement UN Security Council Resolutions but also to further the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), namely a) promoting international peace and security, b) preventing conflicts, c) supporting democracy, the rule of law and human rights and d) defending the principles of international law, as the EU did in the case of the illegal annexation of Crimea.
The "Navalny affair" falls in the context of applying restrictive measures (sanctions) to support democracy, rule of law and human rights. It is by now well documented that prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. Initially hospitalised in Omsk, at the request of his family he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny. France and Sweden confirmed that the cause of his illness was Novichok, a Russian nerve agent. Samples taken from Navalny had also been sent for testing to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.