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Iran Press TV

Russia to impose sanctions on German, French officials in tit-for-tat move over Navalny: Lavrov

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 12 November 2020 3:11 PM

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will soon impose retaliatory sanctions on German and French officials over the alleged poisoning of the Russian opposition figure, Alexei Navalny.

Navalny, 44, fell seriously ill on a plane in Siberia on August 20 and two days later was flown to Germany for due treatment. His aides claimed that he had been poisoned before the flight.

However, Russian doctors who tested his blood for poisoning before he was moved to Berlin said the tests were negative.

In early September, Germany said Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. Later, France, Sweden, and the UN's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) echoed Berlin's allegation.

Moscow has strongly denied involvement in any attack on Navalny, who was discharged from Charite Hospital in Berlin in late September.

However, the European Union (EU) introduced sanctions on a number of Russian officials in October, alleging that the so-called "attack" could not have been conducted without the purported complicity of Russia's security services.

On Thursday, Lavrov stressed that Moscow would soon announce its own punitive measures against German and French officials in retaliation for the sanctions Berlin and Paris imposed on several Russian officials over the alleged poisoning.

"Since Germany was the driving force behind the European Union's sanctions connected to Navalny since these sanctions directly concern senior staff of the presidential administration of the Russian Federation, our response sanctions will mirror them," Lavrov said.

Furthermore, the Russian foreign minister said that Moscow had "reason to believe" the nerve agent could have entered Navalny's body during his flight to Berlin's Charite Hospital where he was treated for 32 days, or while he was in Germany.

"We have all grounds to believe that everything, which had happened to him (Navalny) from the point of view of warfare agent's entering into his body, could have happened in Germany or on the plane where he was loaded and sent to the Charite clinic," Lavrov told an online news conference.

In mid-October, the EU sanctioned several Russian individuals over Navalny's case, including head of Russia's FSB domestic spy agency, Alexander Bortnikov, chief of policy at the Kremlin, Andrei Yarin, and deputy Kremlin chief of staff, Sergei Kirienko.

Brussels approved the sanctions after Germany and France, a week earlier, proposed measures against individuals they deemed responsible for the alleged poisoning, as well as entities involved in Russia's Novichok program.

The Russian nationals subject to new EU sanctions are now banned from traveling to the EU and any assets they hold in the bloc will be frozen.

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