MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Moscow was bewildered by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s refusal to provide an answer to a verbal message by his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the issue of Alexey Navalny, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Friday.
"We were perplexed by the clearly expressed refusal by the French side to give any answer to Sergey Lavrov’s verbal message to the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. A reminder that Sergey Lavrov’s verbal message regarding neurologist Vitaly Kozak’s letter about inconsistencies in the allegations about Navalny’s poisoning was conveyed to the addressee on February 15. It is well known that France has so far not responded to either Russia’s formal request of September 16, 2020, to provide the blogger’s test results or to the query by the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office of September 18, 2020, on mutual legal assistance in accordance with the relevant European convention," the diplomat specified.
According to Zakharova, Russia views that not only as "Paris’ use of the all-too-common double standards," but also as disregard for fundamental diplomatic courtesy. "Without bothering itself with any substantiated explanations, Paris became just an active participant in the information crusade of pressure on our country. You need to stand by your words, so would you be so kind as to do that. Follow your glorious traditions, not the infamous traditions of the collective West of recent years," Zakharova concluded.
Navalny’s ‘poisoning’ saga
Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk on August 20, 2020, after he suddenly felt ill during mid-flight while traveling from Tomsk to Moscow. He fell into a coma and was then hooked up to a ventilator. Later on, he was taken to Berlin and admitted to the Charite clinic. On September 2, the German government claimed that German military toxicologists had found that Navalny had been allegedly exposed to a nerve agent belonging to the Novichok family.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Moscow was ready to fully cooperate with Berlin. He also pointed out that Russian doctors had detected no traces of poisonous substances in Navalny’s body.