MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. The statement made by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, in which he said that the situation around Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny does not form part of Russian-Germany bilateral agenda is a ploy to hide Berlin’s course to destroy relations with Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during Thursday’s briefing.
"We consider such statements as some tactical ploy that serves to hide Germany’s course for destruction of bilateral ties. I would like to remind you that it was Berlin that used this situation to put forward unfounded accusations, ultimatums and threats against our country, openly disregarding its own international legal obligations on providing practical aid to Russia in the investigation of the incident with the Russian citizen. Once again, it is acting as the locomotive of new anti-Russian sanctions within the EU and other multilateral structures," Zakharova pointed out.
She added that Russia categorically rejects Maas’ public statements claiming that Russian officials allegedly said Navalny had poisoned himself. "This is an outright lie, no one has made such claims. We see this statement by the German foreign minister as nothing short of an unethical provocative trick, and we have taken note of it," Zakharova said.
The spokeswoman noted that Russia cannot believe Maas’ statements on Berlin’s interest in maintaining good or at least reasonable relations with Russia. "The German government is undermining the framework of trustworthy relations that has been building for dozens of years, the basis of which was laid by the friendship between the USSR and the GDR, as well as the eastern policy [of former Chancellor of the FRG] Willy Brandt," the diplomat concluded.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers made a political decision on the need to introduce sanctions against Russia following the Navalny incident.
Russian opposition figure 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 September 22, he was discharged from hospital.
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.