In the case of the poisoning of opposition politician Navalny, France and Germany want to consult with the EU on new sanctions against Russia. The Kremlin responded with serious charges.
Russia has accused Germany and France of “blackmail” in the case of poisoned Kremlin critic Alexej Navalny. Paris and Berlin are categorically unwilling to “take the facts into account,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Sakharov. She accused the countries of “threats and extortion attempts”. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and his French colleague Yves Le Drian had previously announced that they would discuss new sanctions against Russia with EU partners.
‘Unacceptable in content and tone’
Moscow has so far given “no credible explanation” for Navalny’s poisoning, despite repeated requests, the two ministers said. Sakharov 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.
Well-known opposition member Alexei Navalny collapsed on August 20 during a flight from Tomsk in Siberia to Moscow. Two days later, at the insistence of his family and supporters, he was taken to the Berlin University Hospital Charité for treatment. A special Bundeswehr laboratory showed that Navalny had been 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.