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Business News/ News / World/  UK freezes assets, bans travel for Russian prison bosses after Alexei Navalny's death
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UK freezes assets, bans travel for Russian prison bosses after Alexei Navalny's death

Russia announced Alexei Navalny's death on 16 February, prompting UK to freeze assets of six Russian prison bosses linked to the Arctic penal colony where Navalny was held.

Russia: a picture of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny hangs from a wall as people attend a vigil following his death, at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (REUTERS)Premium
Russia: a picture of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny hangs from a wall as people attend a vigil following his death, at the Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (REUTERS)

Russia announced the death of Vladimir Putin's critic Alexei Navalny on 16 February, following which the United Kingdom froze assets of six Russian prison bosses, who were reportedly in charge of the Arctic penal colony housing Navalny. 

According to media reports, the sanctioned six Russians,  including the head and five deputy heads of the penal colony, will also be banned from travelling to UK. 

The six prison officials, who were sanctioned under UK human rights regulations, include Vadim Konstantinovich Kalinin, who oversaw the brutal prison camp where the anti-corruption campaigner was kept in solitary confinement.

Western superpowers have blamed the death of Alexei Navalny on Russian authorities, including President Vladimir Putin

“It's clear that the Russian authorities saw Navalny as a threat and they tried repeatedly to silence him,'' Foreign Secretary David Cameron said. “That's why we're today sanctioning the most senior prison officials responsible for his custody in the penal colony where he spent his final months.''

He added, “Those responsible for Navalny's brutal treatment should be under no illusion — we will hold them accountable."

Alexei Navalny also suffered from being denied medical treatment and from having to walk in temperatures dropping to minus 32 degrees Celsius, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

David Cameron had vowed action on the matter on Saturday, while London summoned the Russian ambassador to make clear it held Russian authorities "fully responsible" for Navalny's death.

Russia, which has denied involvement in the death of the 47-year-old former lawyer, said on Saturday that it was unacceptable for Britain to interfere in its internal affairs.

The European Union also moved closer this week to imposing new sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine, as Navalny's widow Yulia Navalnaya said Putin must be held accountable.

Germany, Lithuania and Sweden were among EU countries calling for specific new penalties against Russia over Navalny's death.

Britain has imposed sanctions on more than 1,700 people and entities under its Russia sanctions regime since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the government said.

It is no secret that Russian President Vladimir Putin's critics have empirically faced early death, nerve agents, poison or fall from window. While those close to the victims and the few survivors have blamed Russian authorities for the ‘assassination attempts’, Kremlin has denied any involvement in the ill-fate of their foes.

Before Navalny faced his impending death for opposing Putin and being jailed for three years now, mercenary group Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, mysteriously lost his life in a  plane crash, only days after he led a rebellion towards Moscow, aiming to overthrow the Russian military leadership.

Political observers have also pointed out that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is seeking a sixth term as the leader of Russia, may have orchestrated the death of Alexei Navalny, setting perfectly into the frame of silencing by means of killing his critics.

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Published: 21 Feb 2024, 06:14 PM IST
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