VIENNA, February 6. /TASS/. Vienna welcomes Berlin’s support for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and calls for refraining from attempts to link the project to the situation surrounding Russian blogger Alexey Navalny, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in an interview with Germany’s Welt Am Sonntag newspaper.
"I welcome the fact that the German government continues to support Nord Stream 2," Kurz noted, adding that it was a European project that served Europe’s interests.
"I don’t think that a response to actions against opposition figurehead Navalny should be linked to the construction of Nord Stream 2. Those who believe that the new pipeline is only in Russia’s interests are wrong," the Austrian chancellor emphasized.
Kurz pointed out that Austria, Germany and other European countries would benefit from the project.
Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on February 3 that sanctions against Russia over the Navalny case should not be linked to the pipeline’s construction. The project is in line with the interests of European energy security and Russia remains an important partner in this field, he stressed.
Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20, 2020, after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital. On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany. He pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.
On January 17, 2021, Navalny, who was wanted for violating his suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher case, was detained at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport upon arrival from Berlin. On Tuesday, Moscow’s Simonovsky District Court sentenced Navalny to an actual prison term for numerous probation violations.