NPR/The European Union is hitting six high-placed Russian officials with sanctions over the suspected assassination attempt of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, citing the use of forbidden chemical weapons. Lab tests found Navalny was poisoned by a variant of Novichok, a rare Soviet-era nerve agent.

“The use of chemical weapons constitutes a serious breach of international law,” the European Council said Thursday as it published the sanctions in the EU’s Official Journal. The council had previously condemned the poisoning of Navalny, who spent weeks receiving treatment in Germany after an emergency evacuation from Russia in late August.

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