Europe Strikes Back Over Poisoning of Ex-Russian Agent

The European Union slaps sanctions on four Russians
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2019 6:31 PM CST
This combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday Sept. 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov.   (Metropolitan Police via AP)

(Newser) – The European Union retaliated with sanctions Monday over the poisoning of an ex-Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain, CNN reports. The sanctions target four members of the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency: officers Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov—who were accused of carrying out the 2018 nerve-agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK—and two senior officers, GRU chief Igor Olegovich Kostyukov and his deputy, Vladimir Stepanovich Alexseyev. "Today's new sanctions deliver on our vow to take tough action against the reckless and irresponsible activities of the Russian military intelligence organisation," says UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The sanctions, which include an asset freeze and a travel ban, weren't exactly a hit in Moscow. "We reserve the right to take retaliatory measures over this unfriendly step," said the Russian Foreign Ministry, while a Kremlin rep criticized the notion that photos of Boshirov and Petrov walking around Salisbury proved anything: "You also know there are many photographs of Russians in Britain and they are not direct evidence," he said. The EU also slapped sanctions on five Syrian officials who allegedly took part in Syria's use of chemical weapons, the Guardian reports. (Vladimir Putin had one word for Skripal, and it's not very flattering.)

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