BERLIN (Reuters) – Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny called on the European Union on Wednesday to take tough action against oligarchs close to the Kremlin as he continues his recovery in Germany after being poisoned by a nerve agent of the banned Novichok family.
Germany has said it will agree with EU partners in coming days what action to take after the global chemicals watchdog confirmed Navalny was poisoned with a new, undeclared variant in the Novichok group of toxins.
Several Western governments have said Russia, which has denied accusations by Navalny that it was involved in the poisoning, must help in investigations or face consequences.
“Sanctions against the whole country don’t work. The most important thing is to impose entry bans on profiteers of the regime and freeze their assets,” Navalny told German daily Bild.
“They embezzle money, steal billions and at the weekend they fly to Berlin or London, buy expensive apartments and sit in cafes,” he said.
He singled out Valery Gergiev, chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic, as a target for sanctions, saying he was a supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a statement, the orchestra said Gergiev did not wish to comment on the Bild article.