The G7 has condemned the poisoning of Kremlin critic Navalny in the strongest possible terms – and has made a demand on Russia. Meanwhile, MPs in the United States are calling for a White House investigation.
The G7 countries condemned the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny in the strongest possible terms and demanded that Russia investigate the “horrific poisoning attack”. “This attack on opposition leader Navalny is yet another heavy blow to democracy and political pluralism in Russia,” a statement by Foreign Ministers of the seven leading economic powers circulated by Foreign Affairs in Berlin on Tuesday evening. “He poses a serious threat to anyone who stands up for the defense of the political and civil liberties that Russia wants to guarantee.”
G7 Foreign Ministers called on Russia to “fulfill its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and to guarantee these rights, including the right to freedom of expression, to its citizens”. Russia’s response to international calls to speak out on the poisoning of Navalny will be closely monitored. “We remain committed to democracy, the rule of law, human rights and civil society in Russia.”
The G7 countries include Germany, Great Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Canada and the US. The US is leading the group this year.
Paris cancels meeting with Russian ministers
Meanwhile, France has postponed a ministerial meeting with Russia. The so-called Franco-Russian Cooperation Council on security issues should take place at a later date, the spokeswoman for the Paris Foreign Ministry said in Paris on Tuesday evening. The brief explanation referred to – unspecified – “current circumstances”. The postponement has therefore been discussed with the Russian side.
The foreign and defense ministers of the two countries usually meet in this diplomatic format for deliberations. According to media reports, the next meeting was scheduled for next Monday (September 14). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not provided any information about the appointment.
US MPs are calling for White House investigation
In the United States, White House MPs are calling for their own investigation into Navalny poisoning, which could lead to new sanctions against Russia. The Foreign Policy Committee of the House of Representatives on Tuesday referred to a US law that provides for penalties for the use of chemical or biological weapons. On this basis, the US had already imposed sanctions on Russia after the poison attack on former Russian secret service employee Sergei Skripal in Great Britain in 2018. After the request, we now have two months for an American investigation.
Navalny, one of the fiercest opponents of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, fell into a coma on August 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was later transferred to the Berlin Charité at the insistence of his family. After an investigation in a special laboratory of the Bundeswehr, the federal government had announced that it believed that Navalny had been proven beyond doubt with the military neurotoxin Novitschok. It was also used in the attack on Skripal.
The letter to President Donald Trump was signed by both Democratic Commission chairman Eliot Engel and number two, Michael McCaul, a Republican. US President Donald Trump has so far been reluctant to comment on the Navalny case. Last week, after the announcement by the federal government, he said the US had no evidence yet. At the same time, he said he would be “very angry” if the allegation was confirmed. As a result, Trump also reiterated his call to halt the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, which is supposed to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.