MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The suggestion of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas that Russia should send its requests on the situation with Russian blogger Alexei Navalny to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is just an excuse, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
"I’m sorry, but this is just a kind of an excuse, mildly speaking. But given this resonance and urgency of the issue that we see now, to tell you the truth, I would like to use stronger expressions. Because this is wrong," Zakharova said in an interview with "60 Minutes" program on Rossiya-1 TV channel.
"If there are serious facts, and they tell us these are real facts, and there is a request from the respective law enforcement agencies, then what could be more common, simple, true, honest and right than to just hand them over to the Russian side?" the diplomat said.
According to Zakharova, "unfortunately, the chain of these strange things is not going to break."
On Monday, the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office sent a new request to Germany on legal assistance on the situation with Navalny, Spokesman Andrei Ivanov said.
Maas said on Monday that the OPCW experts had taken Navalny’s samples at Berlin’s Charite hospital and Russia, as a member of this organization, could send its requests to it regarding the incident with the blogger.
Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on the Tomsk-Moscow flight. He fell into a coma and was hooked up to a ventilator in the intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to the Charite hospital in Berlin. On September 2, the German government claimed that Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok-family toxic agent. On Monday, Berlin claimed that three EU laboratories, including those in France and Sweden, had confirmed the German conclusions. According to the German Foreign Ministry, the OPCW experts also took samples from Navalny, forwarding them to the organization’s reference laboratories.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany. He noted that before Navalny was transferred to Berlin, no toxic substances had been found in his system. For her part, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the German Foreign Ministry had not provided any evidence of the alleged poisoning to the Russian ambassador.