Germany threatens Russia with sanctions over Navalny poisoning

(Update: adds Russian response)

Berlin, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- Germany threatened Russia with sanctions on Sunday over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Berlin said it was considering interrupting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will take Russian gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea.

“In any case, I hope that the Russians will not force us to change our position on Nord Stream 2,” German foreign minister Heiko Maas told national newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Maas added that interrupting the almost-completed pipeline would also harm German and European companies and warned that anyone who supports the idea “has to be aware of the consequences”.

He highlighted the fact that the project involves more than 100 companies from 12 European countries, around half of which are German, but that failing to debate Nord Stream 2 would not do justice to the Navalny case.

Maas repeated demands that the Russian government cooperates in clarifying the “serious crime” and added: “If it had nothing to do with the attack, it would be in its own interest to prove it with facts.”

Failure to do so would be “one more indication of the participation of the state” in the incident, he added.

Mass said there were “many indications” that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning, including that the nerve agent Novichok used was in the hands of Russian agencies.

Only a “very small group of people” have access to the toxic substance, which was also used in a 2018 attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom, he added.

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