SHARE
COPY LINK

RUSSIA

Russia accuses Germany of refusing to cooperate on Navalny medical probe

Russia on Friday accused Germany of refusing to cooperate with it to establish the cause of of opposition leader Alexei Navalny's illness as he continues to recover in Berlin.

Russia accuses Germany of refusing to cooperate on Navalny medical probe
A poster showing Navalny (L) with the headline "poisoned" next to an effigy of President Putin, during an anti-government protest at the Russian Embassy in Berlin. Photo: AFP

The 44-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner collapsed on a flight to Moscow from Siberia in what his allies say was a state-sanctioned poison attack.

He was discharged from a hospital in Berlin this week after receiving treatment for a month.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that doctors in Siberia had passed information to their colleagues in Berlin and that Russia was ready to collaborate for the sake of Navalny's “speedy recovery”.

“Unfortunately, in response we received a categorical refusal from the German government to cooperate in establishing the truth about the situation with Alexei Navalny,” the statement said.

Labs in Germany, France and Sweden have said they confirmed the staunch critic of President Vladimir Putin was poisoned with Novichok, a Soviet military-grade nerve agent.

The Kremlin has denied the allegations and accused Western leaders of launching a disinformation campaign over the opposition leader's illness.

The foreign ministry called Germany's conclusion that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok “predictable” and said it was reached “in the atmosphere of ongoing anti-Russian hysteria in the West”.

Russia insists medical tests its doctors carried out found no poison in Navalny's body. It says it lacks grounds for a criminal investigation, despite international calls for a transparent probe.

Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said Friday that his recovery would “take a long time” and that he would undergo rehabilitation in Germany.

In a blog post on earlier on Friday, Navalny thanked Russian pilots who made an emergency landing when he fell ill and the paramedics who first treated him.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

RUSSIA

Germany arrests Russian scientist for spying for Moscow

German police arrested a Russian scientist working at an unidentified university, accusing him of spying for Moscow, prosecutors said on Monday, in a case that risks further inflaming bilateral tensions.

Germany arrests Russian scientist for spying for Moscow
Vladimir Putin. Photo: dpa/AP | Patrick Semansky

Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the suspect, identified only as Ilnur N., had been taken into custody on Friday on suspicion of “working for a Russian secret service since early October 2020 at the latest”.

Ilnur N. was employed until the time of his arrest as a research assistant for a natural sciences and technology department at the unnamed German university.

German investigators believe he met at least three times with a member of Russian intelligence between October 2020 and this month. On two occasions he allegedly “passed on information from the university’s domain”.

He is suspected of accepting cash in exchange for his services.

German authorities searched his home and workplace in the course of the arrest.

The suspect appeared before a judge on Saturday who remanded him in custody.

‘Completely unacceptable’

Neither the German nor the Russian government made any immediate comment on the case.

However Moscow is at loggerheads with a number of Western capitals after a Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s borders and a series of espionage scandals that have resulted in diplomatic expulsions.

Italy this month said it had created a national cybersecurity agency following warnings by Prime Minister Mario Draghi that Europe needed to
protect itself from Russian “interference”. 

The move came after an Italian navy captain was caught red-handed by police while selling confidential military documents leaked from his computer to a Russian embassy official.

READ ALSO:

The leaders of nine eastern European nations last month condemned what they termed Russian “aggressive acts” citing operations in Ukraine and “sabotage” allegedly targeted at the Czech Republic.

Several central and eastern European countries have expelled Russian diplomats in solidarity with Prague but Russia has branded accusations of its involvement as “absurd” and responded with tit-for-tat expulsions.

The latest espionage case also comes at a time of highly strained relations between Russia and Germany on a number of fronts including the ongoing detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who received treatment in Berlin after a near-fatal poisoning.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has moreover worked to maintain a sanctions regime over Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the scene of ongoing fighting between pro-Russia separatists and local forces.

And Germany has repeatedly accused Russia of cyberattacks on its soil.

The most high-profile incident blamed on Russian hackers to date was a cyberattack in 2015 that completely paralysed the computer network of the Bundestag lower house of parliament, forcing the entire institution offline for days while it was fixed.

German prosecutors in February filed espionage charges against a German man suspected of having passed the floor plans of parliament to Russian secret services in 2017.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas last week said Germany was expecting to be the target of Russian disinformation in the run-up to its general election in September, calling it “completely unacceptable”.

Russia denies being behind such activities.

Despite international criticism, Berlin has forged ahead with plans to finish the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, set to double natural gas supplies from Russia to Germany.

SHOW COMMENTS