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Navalny supporters call for sanctions against Putin supporters over opposition leader’s death Reuters

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Lucy Papachristou

LONDON (Reuters) – Aides to former Russian President Alexei Navalny said on Thursday that further Western sanctions should be imposed on his associates and wealthy oligarchs to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny’s death in an Arctic prison in February was a major blow to Russia’s scattered opposition. His team and widow, Yulia Navalnaya, have repeatedly accused Putin of ordering his killing without evidence. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in his death.

Mr Navalny’s supporters said Thursday that Putin must pay a price for what happened to Mr Navalny.

“President Vladimir Putin bears personal responsibility for the murder of Alexei Navalny, and our task is to address this heinous crime at every opportunity,” Navalny’s team wrote.

“Sanctions could be one of those responses, but only if they hurt President Vladimir Putin himself and have consequences that he cannot ignore.”

Russian authorities view Navalny and his supporters as extremists with ties to the CIA who are trying to destabilize Russia, and have outlawed his movement, forcing many of his supporters to flee the country.

Navalny’s team, operating in exile, has published three lists of 50 individuals they say should be targeted by the United States, Britain and the European Union.

They include Putin’s closest associates – some of whom have known the president for decades – as well as businessmen, government officials and people previously investigated by Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK).

The list includes businessmen Roman Abramovich, Vladimir Potanin, and Leonid Mikhelson, as well as senior government officials such as Deputy Prime Ministers Denis Manturov and Alexander Novak, Kremlin aide Nikolai Patrushev, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, and Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina. Also on the list is Igor Zelensky, the husband of Putin’s second daughter Katerina.

Many are already under sanctions from Western countries.

The European Union on Monday announced a new set of sanctions targeting officials of Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service, judges, prosecutors and judicial officials for human rights violations following Navalny’s death.

FBK lawyer Alexander Pomazuev appears to deny the validity of these sanctions.

“Banning employees of the Karp Colony (where Navalny was killed) from traveling to London, when they don’t even have passports with visas, won’t hurt anyone, including, of course, President Putin himself,” Pomazuev said in a video posted to Navalny’s YouTube channel.

Navalny’s team said their proposals were aimed at targeting Putin’s “corrupt funds” and sowing discord between the president and Russian oligarchs, who Pomazuev said act as “proxies of Kremlin influence where the Kremlin cannot act directly.”

Pomazuev said Putin was “not interested in the pain and suffering of the majority of the people” but “cannot ignore the fate of the oligarchs.”

“You can’t even exclude your closest relatives,” Pomazuev said.

(Reporting and writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by David Gregorio)

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