MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov is against linking the cancellation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Berlin with the incident involving Russian blogger Alexei Navalny.
"Our minister made the decision to cancel the visit because its agenda was considerably reduced and changed by the German side," Peskov told the media, when asked if the cancellation of Lavrov’s visit to Berlin might be attributed to the Navalny affair.
The original plan was Lavrov would pay a visit to Berlin on September 15 for the closing ceremony of the cross year of scientific and educational partnerships. On September 3, the German side notified Moscow there had been changes to the business schedule of Foreign Minster Heiko Maas, for which reason the closing ceremony was canceled and only one and a half hours was reserved for bilateral negotiations. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the main purpose of Lavrov’s visit to Berlin turned irrelevant and the proposed agenda of bilateral negotiations considerably slashed.
"I would avoid saying anything about the relations [between Russia and other countries] in general, because we are certain that there are no factors that might have adverse effects or must have some negative influence on our relations," Peskov said, when asked about the consequences of the Navalny incident for Russia’s relations with other countries.
Absence of data from Germany on Navalny’s condition
Russia still remains open for interaction on investigating the causes of the incident with Alexei Navalny yet it doesn’t understand why there is no response from German experts, the Kremlin spokesman told journalists on Tuesday.
"Russia was and is fully open for cooperation and interaction in figuring out what happened [with Navalny]," the Kremlin representative noted. According to him, "in order to progress in this matter Russia needs to interact with the German side in the obtainment of biological materials of the patient."
"For some reason we haven’t received a response on this matter from our German counterparts," the spokesman stated. "This situation exists, it raises many questions, mostly it is confusing but we continue to expect that if French specialists had this opportunity, if Swedish specialists had this opportunity, if the OPCW experts were somehow informed of the test results, we do not understand why this opportunity was not granted to Russian specialists," the Kremlin representative said, reiterating that Moscow "is still interested in determining the causes of the incident."
Navalny was taken to a hospital in Omsk on August 20 after feeling unwell on a plane en route from Tomsk to Moscow. He sank into a coma and was put on a lung ventilator. Later, he was brought to Berlin’s Charite hospital.
On September 2, the German government claimed that Bundeswehr toxicologists had studied Navalny’s test samples to arrive at the conclusion he had been affected by a Novichok class agent.
On Monday, Berlin said that EU laboratories, including those in France and Sweden, confirmed Germany’s conclusions. According to the German Foreign Ministry Navalny’s test samples were taken by experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and dispatched to the organization’s reference laboratories.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was prepared for all-round cooperation with Berlin. He stressed that no poisonous substances had been identified in Navalny’s body before his transportation to Germany. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the German Foreign Ministry had presented no proof to the Russian ambassador.