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Russian intelligence chief points to West’s anti-Nord Stream 2 scheme fueling Navalny case

According to the high-ranking official, the efforts to block the Nord Stream 2 project are a typical example of unfair competition for the European market of gas
Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS/. Russia’s foreign intelligence service SVR has exposed some Western countries’ involvement in fueling the Alexey Navalny case, with the Nord Stream 2 project being the main target, SVR Director Sergei Naryshkin said in a statement issued by the SVR press bureau on Tuesday.

"The SVR has observed intensive activity by some Western countries in fueling the so-called Navalny case. It is increasingly evident that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is one of the main targets," he noted.

Naryshkin said the efforts to block this project, disguised as a "means of punishing Russia for Navalny" were a typical example of unfair competition for the European gas market. "It is extremely important for Washington to have this project aborted, because it calls into question the White House’s plans for stepping up supplies of US liquefied gas to Europe," Naryshkin specified. The intelligence chief said the following points were very telling: US President Donald Trump’s calls addressed to Germany to quit Nord Stream 2, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s statements about including the gas pipeline project in the new version of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and threats from several Republican senators to the authorities of Germany’s port Mukran.

"Alongside such outspoken demarches, the Americans have unleashed a campaign of pressure against European countries through various confidential channels to demand the blocking of Nord Stream 2. In a situation like this it is not surprising that the project has come under the most odious attacks from Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine, which fall over themselves to demonstrate their usefulness to Washington," Naryshkin said.

He stressed that the logic of the Western countries’ speculations to the effect that Russia’s income from energy cooperation with Europe was being used to create threats to European stability did not hold water. "It might have been said just as easily that US export revenues are used for crackdowns on protesters in Portland, or the money France earns by selling its wines and oysters help beat up the ‘yellow vests’. We don’t go as far as such absurdities," Naryshkin said. He believes that most Europeans are aware that the refusal to participate in the project would cause them much harm. The resource base for rebooting the European economy would be considerably narrowed in a situation where the economic slump in Europe, according to Deutsche Bank estimates, will reach 8.6%. Also, the problem of employment amid the coronavirus crisis would get worse.

The top intel official hoped the EU’s common sense would prevail ahead of the winter season. "I do hope that the EU will not shoot itself in the foot. Even more so since weather forecasts promise a cold winter and gas will be in great demand," he warned.

Navalny case

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 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. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the German Foreign Office had not provided the Russian ambassador with any proof of its version of the incident.

On September 7, doctors at the Berlin clinic said Navalny had been removed from the coma and disconnected from the lung ventilator.