Germany puts pressure on Russia to investigate Navalny poisoning

Germany on Sunday stepped up pressure on Russia over the poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and warned that Moscow's lack of support in the investigation could lead Germany to reconsider the fate of the "Russian" gas pipeline project. Can force

Germany puts pressure on Russia to investigate Navalny poisoning

"I hope that the Russians will not be forced to change their position on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to be built under the Baltic Sea," German Foreign Minister Heiko Moss told the weekly Bild am Sonntag.

"If there is no Russian involvement in the investigation in the coming days, we will have to consult with our partners," Moss said.

He did not rule out possible sanctions against Russia, telling the newspaper "if we think about sanctions, they should be effectively punished."

However, Moss also acknowledged that halting construction of the gas pipeline would hurt German and European companies.

"Anyone who demands it should be aware of the consequences," he said. "More than 100 companies from 12 European countries are involved (under construction), half of them in Germany."

The German government is under pressure to use the joint Russian-Russian pipeline project as an advantage to Russia's response to Navalny. The Nord Stream 2 project will deliver Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, ignoring Ukraine.

Navalny, a Kremlin critic and investigator of corruption, fell ill on a flight to Moscow last month and was taken’ to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk. He has been in an induced coma in a Berlin hospital since he was brought’ to Germany for treatment on August 22.

German officials say tests show he was poisoned’ with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. British authorities had earlier identified a Soviet-era nerve agent, as Sergei Scripps, a former Russian spy, and his daughter were poisoned’ in England in 2018.

"We have high expectations from the Russians that they will shed light on this serious crime," Moss said. If they have nothing to do with this attack, then it is in their interest to keep the facts on the table.

A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin has dismissed allegations that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning Navalny and said last week that Germany had not provided Moscow with any evidence of the politician's condition.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Neville's poisoning an assassination attempt aimed at silencing one of Putin's most vocal critics and called for a full investigation.

Merkel personally offered to help the country treat Neville. He is now in stable condition at the Charity Hospital in Berlin, but doctors are hoping for a long recovery and have not ruled out the long-term effects of the 44-year-old's health.

Merkel has previously rejected the idea that the Navalny case should be connected’ to the Nord stream 2-gas pipeline.

The United States has long opposed the plan, which has sparked controversy between Berlin and Washington. In early August, three Republican senators threatened sanctions against the operator of the Baltic Sea port in Merkel's parliamentary constituency over part of Nord Stream 2. The port of Mukran is an important site for the ships involved in its construction.

The United States has said the plan would jeopardize European security by making Germany more dependent on Russian gas. It has also been opposed’ by Ukraine and Poland, which will ignore the Baltic pipeline as well as some other European nations.

In addition to security concerns, the United States wants to sell most of its natural gas, or LNG, to Europe.


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