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Iran Press TV

Russia accuses West of using Navalny poisoning allegations as sanctions pretext

Iran Press TV

Monday, 14 September 2020 4:26 PM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the West of using the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny as a pretext to promote new sanctions against Russia.

Russia's top diplomat made the remarks shortly after he canceled a planned visit to the German capital city of Berlin for talks on Tuesday, the Interfax news agency reported.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov's planned trip was canceled due to a change in the schedule of his German counterpart Heiko Maas.

Navalny, 44, was taken ill on a domestic flight on August 20. He was later transported to the German capital, where he was said to have been poisoned. His aides had already claimed that a cup of tea that he had drunk before the flight had been poisoned, blaming Moscow.

But doctors at a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, where he was initially admitted to, said they had found no traces of poisoning in his blood or tissue samples.

German doctors at Berlin's Charite Hospital claimed Navalny had been poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors.

Western governments have since been attacking Russia with accusations that it poisoned Navalny.

The Russian government has fiercely denied any involvement in the so-called "poisoning" case.

Moscow has already asked Germany for Navalny's medical records and warned other countries against jumping to conclusions without knowing the full facts.

Earlier on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned "unsubstantiated" accusations about Russia's involvement in purported poisoning of Navalny with a nerve agent.

Putin made the remarks in a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, stressing that it was inappropriate to make "unsubstantiated accusations based on nothing against the Russian side."

The allegation is the latest in a series of accusations against Moscow. In 2018, the UK accused Russia of having poisoned Sergei Skripal, a former double spy, and his daughter in Salisbury in southern England. Russia repeatedly denied any involvement in that incident.

Relations between Moscow and the rest of Europe have deteriorated since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The European Union has leveled several rounds of sanctions against Moscow.

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