The governments of France and Germany are preparing to expand sanctions against Russia due to the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny with the military nerve agent Novichok, said French Foreign Ministry in a statement.
This statement was preceded by the confirmation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of the results of tests provided by the laboratories in Germany and France, which had previously found traces of this substance in Navalny’s body.
The statement said France and Germany had repeatedly called on Russia to shed light on the circumstances of the crime and those who committed it. In this context, the foreign ministers of the two countries believe that there is no other plausible explanation for poisoning Navalny other than Russia’s responsibility and participation. Therefore, France and Germany will send proposals for additional sanctions to their European partners, the statement said.
"These proposals will be aimed at people whom we consider responsible for this crime and violation of international standards because of their official functions, and the organization involved in the Novichok program," the French Foreign Ministry said.
Alexei Navalny became ill on August 20 on board the plane flying from Tomsk to Moscow. The airliner made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalized. On August 22, at the request of Navalny's relatives, he was taken to the Charite hospital in Berlin for treatment. The politician was in an induced coma for 19 days.
At the request of the hospital, experts of the special laboratory of the German armed forces conducted a toxicological analysis of samples taken from Navalny and found in them traces of the combat nerve agent from the Novichok group. The German government stressed that there is no doubt about conclusions of the Bundeswehr specialists. Moscow denies all accusations of involvement in the assassination attempt on the Russian opposition leader
German Chancellor Angela Merkel does not rule out the introduction of sanctions against the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, which is supposed to transport gas to Germany, because of the Kremlin's possible involvement in Navalny’s poisoning.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Ukraine can join the sanctions against the Russian Federation for poisoning Alexei Navalny.