Germany must show Russia a “clear lead”

After the alleged poison attack on Alexei Navalny, the head of the Munich Security Conference sees German-Russian relations at a new low. Sanctions are therefore not enough.

With the fall of Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny, the German-Russian relationship has reached a “new low”, according to Wolfgang Ischinger. “The credibility of Russia was already shaken by the poison attack on Sergei Skripal in Britain, the murder of a Chechen exile in Berlin’s Tiergarten and the hacking attack on the Bundestag. It should now finally be over,” said the president of the Munich security conference in an interview with the “Spiegel”. In Moscow, only the law of the strongest applies. “Unfortunately, that is the end, also for the idea of ​​strategic partnership.”

Ischinger expects little success from possible sanctions against Russia. “Sanctions are the tools that governments like to use when they can’t think of much else,” he told the magazine. Nevertheless: “We have to show a clear lead.”

Ischinger: “We are not enemies of Russia”

The supposedly poisoned Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny has been treated at the Charité in Berlin since last Saturday. The opposition member suddenly fell into a coma during a flight in his home country on August 20 and was first examined in Omsk. After evaluating the clinical findings, German doctors assumed Navalny had been poisoned for a week. His supporters suspect it could be a Russian poison attack.

However, he sees the Navalny case as an opportunity for the Germans to show that they may disagree with the Russian leadership, but help nonetheless, Ischinger said. “We are not the enemies of Russia and the Russians. That is important.”

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