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Lavrov calls out West for 'arrogant' behavior over Navalny case

Had there been no Navalny case, Western nations would have invented another pretext to impose more sanctions on Russia, the top diplomat claimed

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Western countries are showing their arrogance when they doubt the verdicts and the professionalism of Russian medics who treated Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RTVI channel. An excerpt from this conversation was published on the ministry’s website on Monday.

"Western partners are looking at us with arrogance in this regard: we have the right to doubt if they are right and to doubt their [Russian] professionalism [over Navalny’s alleged poisoning]. If this is so, then they [representatives of the West] dare doubt the professionalism of our doctors and investigators," Lavrov said. "This stance unfortunately reminds us of the past. Europe used to be arrogant and felt infallible before, which led to tragic consequences."

Had there been no Navalny case, Western nations would have invented another pretext to impose more sanctions on Russia, the top diplomat insisted. "I agree with our political analysts who say that had there been no Alexei Navalny incident they would have invented anything else as a pretext to impose more sanctions."

According to the Russian top diplomat, as regards the Navalny affair Russia’s Western partners have crossed all bounds of common sense. "As far as this situation is concerned, the way I see it our Western partners have crossed all bounds of decency and common sense," he said. "As a matter of fact, they demand we recognize our guilt. They are asking us: do you not believe German specialists? Are you OK? Their conclusions have been confirmed by the French and the Swedish. You don’t believe them as well, do you?"

He recalled that the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office had issued an inquiry to the German side back on August 27 and had received no reply until today. Nevertheless, they are urging Russia to open a criminal case. "The inquiry spent more than a week no one knows where. They told us it was at the German Foreign Ministry. The German Foreign Ministry did not refer it to the Justice Ministry, its ultimate addressee. Later, they told us the inquiry had been referred to Berlin Prosecutor’s Office but they would tell us nothing without the family’s consent," Lavrov noted.

Navalny felt sick on August 20 while flying from Tomsk to Moscow, prompting the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk. The opposition figure was taken to hospital in a state of coma and was connected to a ventilator. He was airlifted to the Berlin-based Charite clinic on August 22. Its doctors said that indicators of poisoning had been found in his body.

Charite medics said on September 7 Navalny had been taken out of the medically-induced coma and was being disconnected from the ventilator.

The German government said earlier that German military toxicologists had found that Navalny had been exposed to a nerve agent of the Novichok family. Following this, Berlin and its Western partners demanded Moscow clarify the circumstances of the incident and warned they would look at possible sanctions against Moscow.

The Russian side stresses that it is interested in a thorough investigation of the incident and is ready for all-round cooperation with Germany on that matter. Apart from that, Moscow points to the fact that no toxic agent had been spotted in Navalny’s samples before he was taken to Germany whereas the latter has given no evidence to back its theory.