The European Union will consider fresh sanctions on Russian individuals on Monday after more than 3,000 people were arrested across Russia on Saturday to demand the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Lithuania’s foreign minister, arriving in Brussels for a meeting of the bloc’s 27 top diplomats, said “a change is in the air in Russia” that the bloc must support, especially after Navalny’s detention as he returned to Russia from Germany.

“The EU needs to send a very clear and decisive message that this is not acceptable,” Gabrielius Landsbergis said in a video statement, calling for more sanctions on Russian individuals.

The EU already has economic sanctions on the Russian energy, financial and arms sectors over its 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula and has imposed sanctions on Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin in response to Navalny’s poisoning in August.

Fellow Baltic countries Latvia and Estonia support more EU sanctions on Russian individuals, and Italy’s foreign minister said on Sunday that Rome was ready to support more travel bans and asset freezes. Romania publicly backed sanctions on Monday.

Source – Reuters