BERLIN, September 6. /TASS/. Germany’s authorities see no reasons not to satisfy Russia’s request for legal assistance on opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s case and gave the green light to it long ago but medical examination of the patient is not yet over, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.
"We approved this request for legal assistance long ago. When we spoke with the Russian ambassador, we told him about that," he said in an interview with the ARD television channel, commenting on Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s statement that Berlin was delaying reply to Russia’s request.
"And, as a matter of fact, there is no reason to turn it down," he added.
"Currently, medical examination continues at Berlin’s Charite [clinic]. But we put it clearly that when we receive a formal request we will issue all necessary permissions to exchange information on that matter," he said. "So, it is yet another ‘smokescreen’ we have already seen in the recent days. And I am afraid more will follow within days."
According to the German top diplomat, new information on Navalny keeps on coming from his doctors and that is why it will take time to reply to the request.
He repeated his call on Moscow to investigate the incident with Navalny. "It has not been done until now," he said.
He stressed that the use of a chemical warfare agent constitutes a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. "This not the matter of Germany only, it a matter of the international community," Maas stressed. "That is why we discussed this matter with our EU and NATO partners and will soon discuss with the European partners which reaction is to follow and its possible impacts."
Navalny felt sick on August 20 while flying from Tomsk to Moscow and the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk. The man was taken to hospital in a state of coma and was connected to a lung ventilator. He was airlifted to the Berlin-based Charite clinic in the morning on August 22. His doctors said that indicators of poisoning had been found in his body. According to the doctors, the symptoms of poisoning have gradually abated.
On Wednesday, the German government said that German military toxicologists had found that Navalny had been exposed to a nerve agent of the Novichok family. Berlin demanded Moscow clarify the circumstances of the incident.
Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russia was ready for all-round cooperation with Germany on that matter. He noted that no toxic agent had been spotted in Navalny’s samples before he was taken to Germany. The Russian foreign ministry stressed that Moscow was still waiting for a reply from Germany to the inquiry of the Russian prosecutor general’s office and the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, pointed to the fact that Germany had provided no evidence to the Russian ambassador.