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Russia announces new tit-for-tat sanctions on UK nationals over Alexei Navalny poisoning

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By Euronews  with AP
Russia's Foreign Ministry said the measures would affect "those who are complicit in ramping up anti-Russian sanctions activities".
Russia's Foreign Ministry said the measures would affect "those who are complicit in ramping up anti-Russian sanctions activities".   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky

Russia has announced an extended travel ban on a number of British nationals in retaliation to UK sanctions over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the UK ambassador, Deborah Bronnert, on Wednesday to announce that certain British nationals would be "denied entry" to the country.

While the Ministry has not named the individuals affected, the statement added that the expanded list included "those who are involved in escalating anti-Russian sanctions activities".

The travel ban comes after the UK and European Union imposed sanctions on six Russian officials and a state research institute after German authorities accused Russia of poisoning Navalny with a nerve agent.

Russia has described the sanctions as "unacceptable and unfounded" and said the expanded list of banned UK nationals was made in response to "unconstructive and unfriendly actions of the British authorities.'' Last week the ministry announced a similar response to the EU sanctions.

Alexei Navalny fell seriously ill on August 20 on a plane from Siberia to Moscow and is currently convalescing in Germany.

Russia has denied any responsibility for his poisoning and has questioned the conclusions reached by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Navalny has vowed to return to Russia, but this week Russia's prison agency accused the politician of violating the conditions of a suspended sentence he received for a 2014 conviction.

Moreover, Russia's Investigative Committee said it has opened a new criminal case against Navalny on charges of large-scale fraud related to his alleged mishandling of private donations to his Anti-Corruption Foundation and other organisations.

On Tuesday, Moscow also broadened its sanctions against German officials, in retaliation for similar EU measures that accused Russia of involvement in the hacking of the Bundestag in 2015.