The Times: London seeks new EU sanctions on top Russian spies
Previously, the United States had imposed similar sanctions.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has begun negotiations with his European counterparts pushing for new sanctions on Russia following the Skripal case. RBC reported this citing diplomatic sources of The Times. In October, Hunt had already talked to the foreign ministers of Eastern Europe, including Hungary, on imposing the new round of sanctions.
The UK now hopes to enlist the support of France and Germany; the countries are expected to approve blocking of the assets and a travel ban for the high-ranking heads of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia (formerly known as the GRU, Main Intelligence Directorate) within a few weeks. "Half-dozen" spy chiefs involved in the Salisbury poisoning are going to be affected by the sanctions.
The full list of persons on the list may be published as early as next month, which will be the first official confirmation of the identities of the two key suspects, declassified by Bellingcat and Insider - Alexander Mishkin and Anatoly Chepiga. So far, they have been referred to as GRU employees, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, in official documentation.
"Boshirov" and "Petrov"
According to Bob Seely, a Conservative Party politician, there should be a system that would sanction all the decision-makers, from the military and political leaders to the top officials. Otherwise, only the subordinates will be punished. Mr. Seely noted that the heads of state would not be brought to trial, however.
Earlier, some managers and employees of the GRU had been affected by US sanctions, namely, the special services head Igor Korobov, his deputies Igor Kostyukov and Vladimir Alekseev, and Korobov’s deputy Sergey Gizunov. They were listed as far back as December 2016 during Barack Obama’s presidency. In September 2018, another 12 Russians were added in the sanctions lists as GRU officers and accused of hacking into servers of the US Democratic Party in the summer of 2016.
The previous head of military intelligence, Igor Sergun, who died in January 2016, had also been added to the sanctions lists of both the European Union and the United States in March 2014.