Russia is imposing sanctions on Germany and France in retaliation for European Union sanctions imposed on Russia over the case of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, Russia's top diplomat said on Thursday.
"These sanctions will be against leading officials in the offices of German and French leaders," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments carried by state news agency TASS, without disclosing names.
Navalny, 44, has been one of the fiercest domestic critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin over the past decade, having ordered several series of protests against the long-time Russian leader, whom he accuses of perpetuating entrenched corruption.
Navalny was medically evacuated from Russia to Berlin in August after he fell near fatally ill following a campaign trip to assist opposition politicians in the Siberian city of Tomsk.
Laboratories in EU member states Germany, France and Sweden have determined that Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok. Russian officials have said they have found no hard evidence to support that conclusion.
Last month the EU imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials over the Navalny case, including Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia's powerful Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor agency of the Soviet KGB.
The sanctions list included three of Putin's close associates, including the Kremlin's first deputy chief of staff, Sergei Kiriyenko, Putin's ombudsman for Siberia, Sergei Menyailo, and Putin's domestic policy chief, Andrei Yarin.
"As Germany was the driving force behind the EU sanctions in the Navalny case and because these sanctions directly affect leading officials in the Russian presidential office, our sanctions will be mirror-like," Lavrov said.