Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

All Options Open on Sanctions Against Russia Over Navalny: German Minister

Laurent Dubrule/EPA German government's Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth

Germany will keep all options open on possible sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the country's minister for Europe told AFP.

"We have made it very clear that we will look at the entire set of instruments," Michael Roth said in an interview, responding to a question on what action Germany might take against Russia over the case.

Germany said last week there was "unequivocal evidence" that 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner Navalny had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that "only Russia can and must answer" questions on the case.

Moscow has fiercely denied involvement, the Kremlin denouncing as "absurd" attempts to blame the poisoning on Russia.

On Monday, Merkel's spokesman underlined that she would not rule out consequences on the multi-billion-euro Nord Stream 2 pipeline project if Moscow failed to thoroughly investigate the case.

While noting that the pipeline was not just a German project, Roth stressed: "We are open to all sanction options."

Any response would have to be "the result of talks and close European coordination," said Roth, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

The minister also noted that the case was not a bilateral quarrel.

"It is a conflict between Russia and democratic constitutional states, particularly in Europe but also worldwide.

"The poisoning of Navalny is a serious violation of the chemical weapons accord and of an international, rather than bilateral, nature."

It was key to send a "clear signal", he said.

"We cannot tolerate the attempted murder of a person who has criticized the Russian regime, government and the president." 

Call for cooperation 

Roth voiced hope however that sanctions could still be avoided.

"The Russian authorities still have the possibility to show a clear sign of their readiness to cooperate," he said.

Navalny's aides have said they suspect he drank a cup of spiked tea at a Siberian airport.

He fell ill on a domestic flight last month and was treated in a Russian hospital, where doctors said they were unable to find an toxic substances in his blood, before being evacuated to Berlin on August 22.

The Berlin hospital now treating him said Monday that Navalny was finally out of a medically induced coma and "responding to verbal stimuli".

Western leaders have expressed horror at what Navalny's allies say is the first known use of chemical weapons against a high-profile opposition leader on Russian soil.

Novichok was also used in the 2018 attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more