Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not rule out that the Russian authorities would stop dialogue with the leaders of the European Union. The diplomat said this on Tuesday, speaking at the Valdai discussion platform. "Those people who are responsible for foreign policy in the West and do not understand the need for mutually respectful conversation, perhaps we should just stop communicating with them for a while," Interfax quoted the minister as saying.
According to Lavrov, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen "declares that the geopolitical partnership with the current Russian government is not working." “So be it if they want it,” the minister concluded.
Commenting on the alleged poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and the position of the European Union on this case, Sergey Lavrov noted the need for the EU and Germany, where Navalny is undergoing a rehabilitation course after being discharged from the Charite clinic, to fulfill their international legal obligations.
“We want the European Union and Germany to comply with international law on Navalny. There is a convention on assistance in criminal matters, a common European convention, protocols to it. We appeal to them and ask Germany to fulfill its obligations under these international legal instruments,” said Lavrov.
He added that during an hour-long conversation with EU High Representative Josep Borrell, he gave him a Russian vision of the situation and the EU's "arrogant" attitude towards it. “Russia wants to understand whether it is possible to do any business with the EU in the current conditions,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.
The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, informed Sergey Lavrov of the political decision of the EU Council to impose sanctions on those who, in the community's opinion, are responsible for the use of chemical weapons and the attempt on the life of Alexei Navalny, and also called for an investigation in Russia. This is stated in a statement by the EU's foreign policy service, distributed on Tuesday in Brussels following a telephone conversation between Borrell and Lavrov. The statement is cited by TASS.
"High Representative (for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. - Prim. TASS) informed about the political agreement reached at the meeting of the Council on Foreign Affairs on October 12, about the beginning of preparatory work to punish those associated with this attempt. He stressed that the Russian government should do everything possible to thoroughly investigate this crime in full transparency and full cooperation with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), "the statement says.
At the same time, Borrell made it clear on Monday that the EU does not intend to end the dialogue with Moscow. At a press conference following the meeting of the EU Council, he said that the poisoning of Navalny and the EU sanctions planned in this connection cannot determine the relationship between the EU and Russia. According to him, "the light did not converge like a wedge" at this event, "which cannot prevent the consideration of all other issues" with Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier called on the FRG to explain itself about the situation with Navalny, noting Berlin's "stubborn unwillingness" to do this, writes RBC. The Foreign Ministry also pointed out that all chemical weapons in Russia were destroyed under international control, and more than 20 countries worked with the Novichok chemical warfare agent.
The German authorities claim to have transferred all the information through the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
On October 12, it was reported that the foreign ministers of the EU member states supported the proposal of France and Germany on sanctions for the poisoning of Navalny. The sanctions list they prepared, according to the newspaper Le Monde, included nine people from the presidential administration of Russia, special services and the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry, in which the Novichok was allegedly invented. According to the newspaper, their assets in the European Union will be frozen, and they will be banned from entering European countries.
Earlier, laboratories in Germany, France, Sweden and OPCW experts confirmed that the founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Alexei Navalny, was poisoned with a military nerve agent from the Novichok family. Poisons of this type were developed in the USSR and the Russian Federation, and the Russian special services are suspected of their repeated use.
Alexei Navalny himself believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin was personally involved in the assassination attempt. As proof of his position, Navalny cited the fact that Russia has not yet begun an investigation into his emergency hospitalization in August.
Moscow claims that Russian doctors found no traces of poison in Navalny's analyzes. The Investigative Committee refused to check the version of the poisoning of the oppositionist, and Russian courts confirmed this decision, Radio Liberty notes.
The situation related to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny is only one of the factors that contributed to the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia. A sharp aggravation began after the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea to the Russian Federation in 2014 and the outbreak of an armed conflict in the Donbass, where pro-Russian military formations are fighting under the flags of the DPR and LPR. Also, the cooling of relations between Moscow and the West was influenced by the chemical attack in British Salisbury. There, too, the Novichok was used to poison the former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The Russian authorities call all accusations against them unfounded and unproven.