BRUSSELS — Regardless of strain from some European Union international locations on Monday to sanction Russia additional after the arrest of the Kremlin critic Aleksei A. Navalny and 1000’s of his supporters, the bloc’s prime international coverage official will go forward with a go to to Moscow early subsequent month and meet with Russian officers first.

The official, Josep Borrell Fontelles, will press the Russian authorities to launch Mr. Navalny, based on diplomats in Brussels, and if not, new sanctions are attainable. The choice got here throughout a uncommon, in-person assembly of the European Union’s 27 international ministers in Brussels.

Mr. Borrell’s journey to satisfy along with his Russian counterpart, Overseas Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, is anticipated after Feb. 2, when Mr. Navalny faces a court docket listening to that might ship him to jail for a number of years. His supporters have known as for folks to take to the streets once more on Sunday, two days earlier than the listening to.

In a information convention, Mr. Borrell stated the international ministers had condemned the Russian crackdown on Mr. Navalny and his supporters and known as for his or her launch. He stated he could be happy to satisfy Mr. Navalny, and his scenario could be a subject of debate throughout his go to, however the journey was primarily to debate strategic relations with Russia earlier than a summit of European leaders in March.

European leaders are “able to react’’ and to behave “based on circumstances,’’ Mr. Borrell stated. Whereas the international ministers differed about how to reply to Moscow, there have been no concrete proposals made, so there was no have to take selections now, he stated.

Tens of 1000’s of Russians rallied for Mr. Navalny within the streets of greater than 100 Russian cities final Saturday within the greatest demonstrations the nation had seen since no less than 2017. A number of thousand had been arrested and generally crushed, bringing protests from the brand new Biden administration in addition to from European international locations.

The European diplomats mentioned imposing contemporary sanctions on Russia on Monday after strain from a number of capitals for a tricky line, however determined to attend to see what occurs to Mr. Navalny and the result of Mr. Borrell’s go to.

In October, the European Union imposed sanctions on six Russian officers and a state analysis institute over the poisoning of Mr. Navalny in August with Novichok, a lethal nerve agent created in Russia in the course of the Soviet period.

Within the newest signal of how Mr. Navalny’s marketing campaign has shaken the Kremlin, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday took the bizarre step of responding personally. Mr. Putin denied an intensive report by Mr. Navalny and his staff that was launched final week, after he was jailed, concerning the president’s purported “palace” on the Black Sea. The video has been seen greater than 86 million instances on YouTube, underscoring the Kremlin’s vulnerability on the web, which is usually uncensored in Russia.

“Nothing that’s described as my property there ever belonged to me or my shut kin, and by no means did,” Mr. Putin stated in a televised video convention with college college students. The video alleged that the huge, lavish property, stated to incorporate vineyards and an underground hockey rink, was managed by mates and shut associates of Mr. Putin who had been holding it for him.

Mr. Putin stated he had no time to look at Mr. Navalny’s 113-minute movie in full, however had seen excerpts. He dismissed it by quoting a line from “The Twelve Chairs,” an early Soviet novel: “Women, that is boring.” Mr. Putin has used the road no less than as soon as earlier than — to dismiss U.S. allegations of a chemical weapons assault by the Syrian authorities in 2017.

Threats of recent sanctions are certain for use by Russia’s state media to explain Mr. Navalny as a plant or instrument of the West. Over the weekend, tv information reviews prominently featured tweets by Mr. Borrell and different Western officers as proof that Mr. Navalny was working towards Russian pursuits.

On Monday, the Russian Overseas Ministry summoned the USA ambassador to Moscow, John Sullivan, to criticize the American response to the pro-Navalny protests. Maria Zakharova, the Overseas Ministry’s spokeswoman, stated that the assist that the State Division had voiced for Mr. Navalny amounted to “direct interference within the home affairs of our nation.”

The brand new consideration on Russia extends to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany, owned by the Russian state-owned power firm Gazprom and 94 p.c completed, that the USA is making an attempt to cease by sanctions imposed on firms serving to to put the final miles of pipes. The Biden administration has confirmed Washington’s opposition to the pipeline on the grounds that it advantages the Russian state, hurts the earnings of Ukraine and Poland and makes Germany extra depending on Russian pure gasoline.

The Russians are making ready to put pipes close to Denmark with Russian-owned ships, whereas Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany continues to insist that the pipeline is a industrial enterprise and can go forward, regardless of the poisoning and arrest of Mr. Navalny.

Berlin is hoping to resolve the issue with Washington by negotiations with the Biden administration, however it’s attainable {that a} answer will embody no less than a short lived suspension of the challenge.

The European international ministers are additionally below strain to additional sanction Turkey for its violation of waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus with warships and a ship designed to probe for pure gasoline. They’ve held off as Germany has tried to get talks going between Turkey and Greece on the dispute, which grew to become dangerously heated final summer season and stays risky.

Because the European ministers met on Monday, diplomats from Greece and Turkey had been additionally assembly in Istanbul for the primary talks in 5 years geared toward resolving their longstanding dispute over sea borders. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who had a superb relationship with former President Donald J. Trump, can be looking for to ascertain higher relations with the Biden administration.

At the same time as they sit right down to talks, officers disagree on what they are going to be discussing. Greece desires the dialog restricted to the delineation of the international locations’ continental cabinets and corresponding power rights — the main focus of final summer season’s dispute.

However Turkey desires different areas of disagreement on the desk, too, together with the standing of some islands within the Aegean and the rights of Greece’s Muslim minority in Thrace.

At his information convention, Mr. Borrell additionally stated the ministers anticipated Britain to grant full diplomatic standing to E.U. representatives and that they appeared ahead to working with the brand new Biden administration.

“Ensure we’ll coordinate a lot, significantly better than previously,’’ he stated.

Steven Erlanger reported from Brussels and Anton Troianovsky from Moscow. Reporting was contributed by Melissa Eddy from Berlin and Niki Kitsantonis from Athens.


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