The Kremlin on Monday denounced “absurd” makes an attempt guilty Russia for the alleged poisoning of opposition determine Alexei Navalny, as Europe considers whether or not to impose sanctions.
Navalny, a 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner and certainly one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell in poor health on a home flight final month and was handled in a Siberian hospital earlier than being evacuated to Berlin.
Germany mentioned final week there was “unequivocal proof” that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok, the identical substance used within the 2018 assault on a former Russian double agent and his daughter within the English metropolis of Salisbury.
Navalny’s associates say using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, reveals that solely the Russian state could possibly be accountable, however the Kremlin fiercely denies any involvement.
“Makes an attempt to someway affiliate Russia with what occurred are unacceptable to us, they’re absurd,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov advised journalists on Monday.
Russian officers have accused Germany of being gradual to share the findings of its investigation regardless of a request from prosecutors.
“We anticipate info (from Germany) to be supplied within the coming days,” Peskov mentioned. “We’re trying ahead to it.”
German Overseas Minister Heiko Maas mentioned Sunday that Berlin, which holds the rotating EU presidency, will talk about doable sanctions in opposition to Russia if the Kremlin doesn’t quickly present an evidence for what occurred to Navalny.
In any other case, Germany might be compelled to “talk about a response with our allies” together with “focused” sanctions, Maas mentioned.
He didn’t rule out motion referring to Nord Stream 2, a multi-billion-euro Russian-German fuel pipeline nearing completion.
– Pipeline in crosshairs –
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman mentioned Monday that she additionally wouldn’t rule out penalties for Nord Stream 2.
The 10 billion euro ($11 billion) pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea is about to double Russian pure fuel shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest financial system.
It has lengthy been within the crosshairs of the US, which has criticised European nations for his or her reliance on power from Russia.
Western leaders have expressed horror at what Navalny’s allies say is the primary identified use of chemical weapons in opposition to a high-profile opposition chief on Russian soil.
British Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned Sunday that Russia had “a really severe set of inquiries to reply” and it was “clear” the Kremlin critic was poisoned with Novichok.
The Navalny poisoning is the most recent in an extended sequence of assassination makes an attempt in opposition to Kremlin critics.
Already affected by wide-ranging Western sanctions imposed over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, in addition to the results of the coronavirus pandemic and the drop in oil costs, Moscow is anxious to keep away from any additional stress on its financial system.
Navalny fell in poor health after boarding a aircraft in Siberia final month, with aides saying they believe he drank a cup of spiked tea on the airport.
He was initially handled at a neighborhood hospital, the place medical doctors mentioned they had been unable to search out any poisonous substances in his blood, earlier than he was flown to Berlin for specialised remedy on August 22.
The charismatic Yale-educated lawyer continues to be within the intensive care unit and stays on a ventilator.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)