RPT - Berlin's Refusal To Share Evidence With Russia On Navalny Case Raises Suspicion- Lawmakers

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 18th September, 2020) The German government's refusal to share evidence with Russia on the circumstances surrounding opposition activist Alexey Navalny's illness raises suspicions, German lawmakers told Sputnik.

Navalny fell ill in mid-August while on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow. He immediately received medical care from Russian doctors and was later transferred to Germany for treatment.

Following his arrival in Germany, Berlin announced that lab analysis had shown that the opposition figure had traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group in his system, although Alexander Neu, the Die Linke party spokesman in the Bundestag's Defense Committee, told Sputnik that the German government's refusal to cooperate with Moscow is suspicious.

"The fact that the German government refuses to exchange information with Moscow makes it suspicious. The chain of evidence Berlin claims is far from being as strong and complete as they always say," Neu remarked.

Russian officials, including Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, have indicated Moscow's willingness to cooperate in a joint investigation in order to uncover the circumstances surrounding Navalny's illness, and Neu said that nothing has so far proven Russia's guilt.

"According to all we know, the Russian side has shown itself to be correct and willing to cooperate in this matter from the very beginning. Therefore, the German and Western reproaches to the address of Moscow are unfounded," the German lawmaker said.

Berlin has called for the participation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in its ongoing investigation. The OPCW announced on Thursday that a team of experts from the organization had traveled to Berlin to collect samples taken from the Russian opposition figure.

Dr. Harald Weyel, the AfD spokesman in the Bundestag Committee on the Affairs of the European Union, told Sputnik that there were questions surrounding OPCW's reliability and trustworthiness, making reference to previous events in Syria.

"If the German authorities were interested in clearing up the case, surely they would provide the evidence. As we saw with the alleged 'chemical attacks' in Syria, 'independent' international organizations such as the OPCW can be playgrounds for the manipulation of evidence," Weyel remarked.

European Union officials have hinted that further sanctions may be issued against Russia following Navalny's illness, and earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the imposition of tougher measures on Russia.

According to Lord Richard Balfe, a Conservative member of the UK parliament's House of Lords, imposing sanctions on Russia at this stage may not be the most appropriate decision.

"I am not sure that we want sanctions, I certainly do not think they are appropriate in this case. What we do need is more democratic pluralism and an understanding that in a democracy there is 'a circulation of elites' in other words power cannot be monopolized and has to change hands from time to time in a peaceful manner. That is why governments in the West lose elections," Lord Balfe told Sputnik.

The head of the Russian lower chamber's international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, told reporters on Thursday that the European Parliament's resolution was an instance of "direct gross interference" in Russia's domestic affairs.

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a potential target of further EU sanctions, will still be completed despite the ongoing threats, Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov also said on Thursday.