The British government on Thursday announced it would apply EU sanctions on senior Russians over the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and meddling in the civil war in Libya. These include asset freezes and travel bans on six individuals, including the head of Russia’s FSB domestic spy agency, over the attempt to murder Navalny using the Novichok nerve agent . “The UK and its partners have agreed that there is no plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning, other than Russian involvement and responsibility,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. London has demanded a full investigation into the poisoning and said Russia must declare its Novichok programme to the UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). “The sanctions, which are now in force, send a strong signal that there are consequences for the use of chemical weapons and the threat their use poses to the rules-based international system, designed to keep us all safe,” the ministry said. Six Russian officials are listed over the Navalny poisoning, including FSB security service chief Alexander Bortnikov, head of policy at the Kremlin Andrei Yarin and deputy Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Kirienko. The others sanctioned are Putin’s envoy in Siberia Sergei Menyailo and two Russian deputy defence ministers, Pavel Popov and Alexei Krivoruchko. Russian mercenaries spearhead the battle for Libya’s capital The men are now banned from travelling to the EU and any assets they hold in the bloc will be frozen. In addition, sanctions are being imposed on Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy tycoon close to Russian President Vladimir Putin , “who is responsible for significant foreign mercenary activity in Libya and multiple breaches of the UN arms embargo”. “We have made it clear that all external involvement in this crisis is unacceptable, and will continue to work with the international community to hold those seeking to undermine the stability and security of Libya to account,” the ministry statement said. Britain left the EU in January but remains tied to the bloc under a post-Brexit transition period that ends on December 31. Navalny fell seriously ill on a plane in Siberia while on the election campaign trail, and was flown to Germany for treatment in August. Tests carried out by German experts, later confirmed by France, Sweden and the OPCW, showed he had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. A poison from the same group was used to attack former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018 – an incident that Britain and its allies blamed on Moscow, and strained already fraught diplomatic ties. Dark history of Novichok, deadly Soviet-designed poison Earlier this year, Britain slapped sanctions on 25 Russians in connection with the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. In response, Russia said the EU had harmed relations with Moscow. “The EU with this step has harmed relations with our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, describing the measure as a “consciously unfriendly step” on the part of the EU and vowing that Russia would retaliate. He said there was no logic to the move and, referring to Navalny, expressed regret over a decision that “puts relations between the EU and Moscow at stake over a person who Europe believes is the leader of some kind of opposition”. Prigozhin, nicknamed “Putin’s chef” because his company has done catering for the Kremlin, was sanctioned for undermining peace in Libya by supporting the Wagner Group private military company . Prigozhin said he was saddened by the move and claimed to have many friends in Europe. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict offers insight into the new art of war “Of course, I am very upset over these sanctions, since I will have to curtail my many business projects in the European Union,” he said. “And probably now I will meet less with friends in the European Parliament, many of whom are very decent people who, like me, are supporters of conservative values and fully support me.” He insisted he had “no business projects in Libya”. Prigozhin, a wealthy tycoon close to Putin, is already under US sanctions over his links to the Wagner mercenary outfit, which has been accused of interfering in various conflicts around Africa.