Pushed by Germany, where Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was treated after collapsing on a flight from Siberia, and France, the EU has targeted six Russians and a scientific research centre.
Foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg agreed in principle to sanctions proposals for Russia over poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny as well as against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for alleged rigging in August elections.
Germany and France have directly accused Russia of involvement in the in the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny - a charge that Moscow denies.
Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has said he believed Russia's intelligence services poisoned him with a rare nerve agent because authorities saw him as a threat ahead of next year's parliamentary elections.
Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny received treatment at the Charite hospital for just over a month, of which 24 days were spent in intensive care, after tests determined he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.
Germany renews call for "Russia to make a declaration on the events" of the Navalny case after three European laboratories independently identified a military nerve agent poisoned Alexey Navalny.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that nerve agents and radioactive isotopes such as Novichok and Polonium-210 were sophisticated substances that are very hard to get hold of.
The Kremlin was speaking a day after German Chancellor Merkel said Russian dissident Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him.
Police say they have started "a pre-investigation check" into what led to Alexey Navalny's hospitalisation in the city of Omsk to assess whether a criminal probe is required.
As the countdown to regional elections begins, the Russian economy shows no positive signs and Moscow’s close ally of Belarus descends into political chaos.
Alexei Navalny, a long-time opponent of President Vladimir Putin and campaigner against corruption, was flown in an air ambulance on Saturday for treatment in Germany.
Alexey Navalny is at Berlin's Charite hospital for treatment after falling ill on Thursday morning when he drank some tea allegedly laced with poison.
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