In the case of the poisoning of the opposition politician Navalny, France and Germany want to consult with the EU on new sanctions against Russia. The Kremlin responded with serious allegations.
Russia has accused Germany and France of “extortion” in the case of the poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Paris and Berlin are categorically unwilling “to take the facts into account,” said the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Sakharova. She accused the countries of “threats and blackmail attempts”. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and his French colleague Yves Le Drian had previously announced that they would be discussing new sanctions against Russia with EU partners.
“Unacceptable in content and tone”
Moscow has so far provided “no credible explanation” for Navalny’s poisoning despite repeated requests, said the two ministers. Sakharova described the statement as “unacceptable in content and tone”. France and Germany appeared to be leading an “anti-Russian coalition” within the EU, despite earlier assurances that they wanted a “partnership with Russia,” the spokeswoman said.
The well-known opposition member Alexei Navalny collapsed on August 20 on a flight from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow. Two days later, at the insistence of his family and supporters, he was taken to Berlin University Hospital Charité for treatment. A special Bundeswehr laboratory showed that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the so-called Novitschok group. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) also confirmed this finding on Tuesday.