Germany states Navalny poisoning might ‘require’ reassess of Nord Stream 2

Germany says Navalny poisoning could 'force' rethink of Nord Stream 2

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German Chancellor Angela Merkelgreets Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 19, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

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German authorities are increasing pressure on the Kremlin to comply in the examination into the presumed poisoning of Russian opposition political leader Alexei Navalny, with one legislator noting this weekend that Berlin might reassess its joint huge gas pipeline task with Moscow.

On Sunday, Germany’s foreign minister cautioned Russia that if it does not add to an examination then it might “force” it to reassess Nord Stream 2, its joint gas pipeline task with Russia.

“I hope the Russians won’t force us to change our position regarding the Nord Stream 2” pipeline, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas informed the Bild am Sonntag paper.

“If there won’t be any contributions from the Russian side regarding the investigation in the coming days, we will have to consult with our partners,” Maas included.

Maas acknowledged the possibility of sanctions on Russia for the poisoning, however informed the paper Sunday that such procedures ought to be “pinpointed effectively.” He likewise yielded that stopping the structure of Nord Stream 2, which is practically finished anyhow, would harm not just Russia however German and European companies.

Germany appeared to distance itself even more from the possibility of sanctions Monday, with a federal government representative specifying that it is “too early” to decide on Russia sanctions, Reuters reported. The representative included that the Nord Stream 2 task is “not a German project” which German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “in line” with her foreign minister and his discuss the pipeline.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline goes under the Baltic Sea and will send out gas to Germany and the rest of Europe, bypassing Ukraine. It has actually currently come under pressure from the U.S., which sees it as a hazard to Europe’s energy security, and a rival to its own melted gas (LNG) exports to Europe.

The U.S. passed sanctions versus the pipeline in late 2019, stating it would target pipe-laying vessels associated with the task, triggering Russia to obtain its own vessels to attempt to prevent the procedures.

‘Up to Russia’ now

Germany has actually come under increasing pressure to reevaluate its huge gas pipeline task with Russia as Navalny, a strong critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is being dealt with in a German health center for presumed poisoning with a lethal nerve representative. He was airlifted to Berlin after at first being dealt with in Russia. The 44-year-old ended up being strongly ill throughout a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20.

German physicians think Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve representative comparable to the one utilized to target a previous Russian spy in the U.K. in 2018. Russia rejects any participation in the poisoning, and Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov has actually stated that: “There are no grounds to accuse the Russian state.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Navalny case an “attempted murder with a nerve agent” recently and stated Navalny was was “the victim of a crime intended to silence him.” She has actually up until now hesitated to connect the case with the future of the Nord Stream 2 task, nevertheless, stating last Friday the 2 concerns ought to be “decoupled.”

“I think that we should see (the Navalny case) decoupled from that. Our opinion is that Nord Stream 2 should be completed,” Merkel informed press reporters Friday, according to Politico.

“After all, this is a project that is being driven by economic players from Russia and Europe. This means that although it has political implications — which is why we have also advocated and will continue to advocate a transit agreement for gas supplies between Russia and Ukraine — I do not think it is appropriate to link this economically driven project with the Navalny issue.”

Pressure is constructing on Merkel to act, nevertheless. Health Minister Jens Spahn provided his assistance to Foreign Minister Maas’ remarks Sunday, likewise informing the Bild paper that: “It is now up to Russia how things will continue. In the end, there is no economic policy question that is more important than our foreign and security policy interests. That is very, very clear to me.” He stated Russia was revealing a “very defiant attitude” presently.

Responding to Maas’ discuss Sunday, Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson implicated Berlin of “stonewalling the investigation process,” news company Tass reported, stating Germany had actually not reacted to concerns from Russia’s leading district attorney. 

“If the German government’s statements are sincere, it should be interested itself in preparing a response to the request by the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office in the shortest term possible,” representative Maria Zakharova informed press reporters Sunday. “Now there is no confidence that Germany is not playing a double game.”

Germany’s foreign ministry reacted to Russia on Monday, stating “criticism by Russia is unsubstantiated,” Reuters reported.