German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.


Michael Sohn / AP / SIPA

Germany, which currently chairs the European Union, on Sunday increased the pressure on Moscow by threatening sanctions for lack of response "in the coming" days on the poisoning, confirmed according to Berlin, of the bête noire of the Kremlin Alexeï Navalny.

“Setting ultimatums does not help anyone, but if in the next few days the Russian side does not help clarify what happened, then we will have to discuss a response with our partners,” Heiko Maas told the Daily



The Foreign Minister added that if sanctions were to be decided, they would have to be “targeted”.

Main Russian opponent, Alexeï Navalny is currently hospitalized in Berlin.

According to Angela Merkel's government, he was "unequivocally" poisoned in Russia during an election tour, before his transfer to Germany, by a Novichok-type nerve agent, designed in Soviet times for military purposes.

Russia "skeptical"

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week greeted the assassination accusations with “a good dose of skepticism” and asked Berlin to provide evidence.

His German counterpart directly implicated the Russian state in the poisoning.

“The deadly substance with which Navalny was poisoned was in the past in the possession of the Russian authorities, only a small number of people have access to Novichok and this poison has already been used by the Russian services for the attack on it. 'ex-agent (Russian) Sergei Skripal', in Great Britain, again listed Heiko Maas.

Already Thursday, the head of European Union diplomacy, Josep Borrell, had spoken of possible sanctions.

In this regard, the head of German diplomacy has not completely ruled out an impact on the very controversial project being completed for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is supposed to supply Germany and Europe with Russian gas.

A project so far dear to Germany.

The government of Angela Merkel is with the poisoning of Alexeï Navalny under increasing pressure to review its support for this project.

Nord Stream is also a debate in Germany

So far, the Chancellor has always wanted to split the two files, the economic and energy interests of the project being major for her country: more than a hundred European companies, half of them German, are associated.

At the national level, Nord Stream has nevertheless become a controversial subject of debate between the contenders for his succession to the chancellery, in his conservative camp, in view of the legislative elections at the end of 2021.

For Ukraine's Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk, stopping Nord Stream 2 would not be enough.

In an interview with the German news agency DPA, he called on Sunday for a total three-month embargo on all Russian gas and oil imports into Europe, in order to "deprive the Putin regime of the main source of income for its aggressive policy ”.


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