MOSCOW, October 12. /TASS/. The sanctions that the EU is planning to introduce against Russia for the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure and blogger Alexey Navalny will affect relations of Moscow with Berlin, Paris and Brussels, Chair of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters Monday.
"Undeniably, if imposed, the new restrictions will tell negatively on the relations with Berlin, Paris and Brussels as a whole," the lawmaker noted.
According to him, the EU "has become a prisoner to anti-Russian inertia and is willing to make political decisions on new sanctions in light of the Navalny incident, as they say, without charge or trial." "Head of the European diplomacy Josep Borrell calls the alleged poisoning of the blogger [Navalny] a fact, which is far from being a fact," Slutsky noted.
The lawmaker also emphasized, "the German authorities consistently refuse to interact on the Navalny case, not answering the Russian side’s requests, putting forward unfounded accusations and demanding explanations." "In this case, Russia is not obliged to trust the word [of Berlin], make excuses or recognize the dictated interpretation of the events as a fact," he concluded.
Earlier, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the top EU diplomats had reached an agreement on the sanctions, which will now have to be drafted by the EU technical agencies. A source in one of the European delegations told TASS that legal issues stand in the way of adopting the sanctions right away as Brussels cannot identify people involved in the incident.
Alexey 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.
On October 6, the OPCW confirmed that biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics as the toxic chemicals added to the Chemical Weapons Convention’s Annex on Chemicals in November 2019. At the same time, this cholinesterase inhibitor is not listed in the Annex on Chemicals to the Convention.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recalled that neither Germany nor the OPCW had provided any evidence to Russia and, moreover, only keep redirecting Moscow to one another for information. The minister added that Germany had ignored four requests of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office on the case, thus brushing international law aside, and expressed confidence that the "evidence" would not be provided by Berlin after all. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly 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.