MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/. Threats to impose sanctions on Russia over the incident involving Alexey Navalny are not surprising, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on Friday.
"The fact that sanctions will be announced without any evidence and short of completing the investigation, which Germany and other EU countries insist on, does not surprise us. We have seen this before when there was the Salisbury poisoning case," he said responding to a question about the upcoming EU meeting scheduled for Monday, which is expected to discuss anti-Russian sanctions.
The Le Monde newspaper earlier reported citing its own sources that the EU sanctions list over the Navalny case contained the names of nine individuals, including employees of the presidential administration and law enforcement agencies. According to the paper, this list, which implies freezing bank accounts and banning travel to Europe, will be discussed at a meeting in Brussels on October 12. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov refrained from commenting on the publication, stressing that this "cannot and should not be a reason for any reaction," and Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that restrictive measures in international relations led only to tit-for-tat steps.
Russia is unable to begin an investigation into the Navalny incident until it is presented with facts, Sergey Lavrov commented. "We are told we must investigate this crime ourselves, but we cannot investigate a case we do not have facts on," he said.
"Germany says this is no longer a bilateral matter, but an international one, so we should turn to the OPCW, who, in turn, says that any examination results could be provided on Berlin’s permission," Lavrov pointed out.
According to the foreign minister, Germany neglects the international law by ignoring the requests on legal assistance by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office over the Navalny case.
At the same time, Lavrov is certain that Germany will not provide any proof. "We remember how the UK authorities accused Russia of poisoning the Skripals in Salisbury. I am certain this is how this story will end too," the foreign minister said.
"The EU’s position that it must be believed simply because it is the EU is a delusion of grandeur and disrespect to its partners," Lavrov noted.