The EU has been told to 'look inwards before condemning' Russia

Russia details 'killer sanctions' they may impose on the West

The Eurocrat took to Twitter to hit out at the latest development in the curbing of free speech in Russia. Four Russian billionaires and the country's state-owned oil firm have filed separate lawsuits against HarperCollins over its publishing of a book detailing the rise of President Vladimir Putin.

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The legal action against the book, Putin's People, comes following months of rising tensions between the Russian president and the outside world.

In early March the EU joined the US in slapping sanctions on senior Russian officials in response to the poisoning attack and jailing of opposition leader Alexie Navalny

Two months on, Mr Navalny's health has drastically deteriorated as he remains in prison.

A prominent critic of Mr Putin, Mr Navalny was jailed in February for old embezzlement charges and continues to enjoy a high level of support from the public.

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putin verhofstadtVerhofstadt was slapped down for suggesting new sanctions on Russia (Image: GETTY)

PUTINGuy Verhofstadt was warned Putin will retaliate if the EU slapped on tougher sanctions (Image: GETTY)

On March 22 Brussels sanctioned two Russians accused of persecuting gay and lesbian people in Chechnya.

But Mr Verhofstadt suggested the bloc's action did not go far enough as he called for a tougher response.

He said: "Putin’s nuisance value extends beyond Russia’s borders.

"He and his oligarch friends are not safe until free speech and critical media are silenced everywhere.

READ MORE: War fears as expert warns Russia could start all out conflict

russia protest alexei navalnyPresident Putin is cracking down hard on free speech (Image: GETTY)

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