EU summons Russian envoy, demands independent investigation into Navalny’s death

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 1:49 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union summoned Russia’s representative to the EU and called for an independent international investigation into the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the EU’s diplomatic service said on Tuesday.

It said Michael Siebert, a senior official in the European External Action Service, also urged Russia to release Navalny’s body to his family without further delay at the meeting with Kirill Loginov, Russia’s acting permanent representative to the EU.

“The EU side conveyed the EU’s outrage over the death of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, for which the ultimate responsibility lies with President (Vladimir) Putin and the Russian authorities,” it said.

Siebert “called upon Russia to allow an independent and transparent international investigation into circumstances” of Navalny’s death, it added.

The Kremlin has denied involvement in Navalny’s death and says Western allegations that Putin was responsible are unacceptable. Russia’s Investigative Committee says it has launched a procedural investigation into the death, and the Kremlin has said it does not bow to EU demands.

Navalny, 47, fell unconscious and died suddenly onFriday after a walk at the penal colony above the Arctic Circle where he was serving a three-decade sentence, the Russian prison service said.

The EU moved closer on Monday to imposing new sanctions against Moscow over its war on Ukraine as Navalny’s widow visited Brussels. The U.S. is set to announce sanctions against Russia on Friday over Navalny’s death.

The Belgian government also said on Tuesday that it had summoned the Russian ambassador over Navalny’s death and called for an independent investigation.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray, writing by GV De Clercq, editing by Timothy Heritage)