The measure was announced after Moscow summoned diplomats from Germany, France and Sweden, three countries where different laboratories have confirmed that the activist was poisoned with Novichok, a substance that he claims was administered by supporters of Vladimir Putin.
Russia on Tuesday imposed sanctions on European Union (EU) officials for their response to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny , saying the opposition leader has a persecution complex and “compares himself to Jesus.”
Moscow summoned several high-ranking EU diplomats before announcing the new travel bans to the Eurasian giant, which respond to measures imposed by the bloc in October and which it described as “confrontational.”
The Foreign Ministry indicated that Moscow “decided to expand the list of representatives of EU member states and institutions who will be denied entry to Russia.
The announcement came a day after Navalny , 44, said he had posed as a Kremlin Security Council official and obtained a guilty plea from an FSB security service toxin expert.
In a video of the conversation posted by Navalny , the alleged FSB agent says that agents placed poison on the opponent’s underwear in August.
After collapsing on an internal flight in Russia in August, the anti-corruption activist was flown for treatment to Germany, where labs concluded he was poisoned with Novichok , a Soviet-designed nerve agent.
The video with the alleged confession accumulated more than 13 million views in 24 hours and social networks were filled with memes about Navalny’s underwear.
Despite the confirmations of the poisoning and the actions of the supranational bloc, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman on Tuesday described Navalny as a “sick” man who suffered from “delusions of persecution” and also exhibited “traits of megalomania.”
“They say he compares himself to Jesus,” said Dmitry Peskov. And he added that the opposition leader had a “Freudian” fixation on his own crotch.
Later on Tuesday, the police detained prominent filmmaker Vitaly Mansky in front of the FSB headquarters in central Moscow , where he organized a one-on-one rally in a pair of blue boxer shorts.
Authorities also responded to Navalny’s supporters . Her main ally, Lyubov Sobol, was arrested Monday night and spent hours in a police station before being released.
Analysts at the Russian political juncture said it was difficult to estimate the extent of the consequences of Navalny’s claims.
“This is a political Chernobyl,” said prominent commentator Yulia Latynina, referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Soviet Ukraine.
“After this, the system cannot exist in its current form , ” he wrote in the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta.
Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Navalny Anti-Corruption Fund, told AFP that Navalny’s allies planned to file a formal complaint with the FSB on Tuesday.
The FSB, by contrast, described the phone call as “false” and said it would not have been possible without the support of foreign intelligence services.
Last week, Putin rejected reports that the FSB had poisoned Navalny, saying that if the security services had wanted to poison the opposition politician, “they would have carried him to the end.”
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