Russia hits out at 'hysteria' over Alexei Navalny

World Wednesday 09/September/2020 16:18 PM
By: Times News Service
Russia hits out at 'hysteria' over Alexei Navalny

The Russian government said on Wednesday that international calls to find out who is behind the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny are aimed at rallying support for punishing Moscow.

The Russian foreign ministry said there was an "ongoing massive disinformation campaign" aimed at "mobilizing sanctions sentiment."

"Unfounded attacks on Russia are continuing," the ministry said in a statement. These had led to a "whipping up of hysteria" that had "nothing to do with Navalny's health or "finding out the genuine reasons for his hospitalisation."

Reactions from the international community

The comments come a day after foreign ministers from the G7, the group of the world's largest advanced economies, called on Russia to find and prosecute those behind the alleged poisoning.

The UN on Tuesday also called on Russia to explain Navalny's suspected poisoning, urging a thorough investigation. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg had told DW the incident required an "international response."

Russia-Germany tensions

Germany said last week Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. He collapsed in Siberia on August 20, flying to Berlin for treatment two days

Russia's foreign minister urged Germany to share Alexei Navalny's medical information, accusing the government of slowing the process down.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas raised the possibility for sanctions gainst the Russian government unless it failed to explain the circumstance around Navalny's ill health.

Maas, a member of junior coalition partners the Social Democrats, told the Bild Am Sonntag newspaper that Berlin could reconsider a controversial gas pipeline deal with Russia, known as Nord Stream 2.

"I hope that the Russians will not force us to change our position on Nord Stream 2," he was quoted as saying.

The multi-billion-euro project would bring Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea as the country moves to phase out nuclear and coal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been keen to downplay linking Nord Stream 2 and Navalny's case.

Her spokesman on Monday raised for the first time the possibility that her government may be forced into a rethink.

"The German chancellor agrees with the foreign minister's comments from the weekend," the spokesman said.