France and Germany have condemned the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in Russia “with all sharpness” and announced additional sanctions. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and his French colleague Jean-Yves le Drian distributed a corresponding joint statement on Wednesday.
They responded to the result of an investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), both states of which confirmed the previous day’s findings.
The brutal attempt at murder undermined the basic principles of democracy and pluralism, the statement said. In addition, it is another shocking case of the use of a chemical weapon, two years after Russia used a similar weapon on British soil, in Salisbury, on March 4, 2018.
“An attempted murder took place on Russian soil; it was aimed at a Russian opposition member and was committed using a military nerve agent developed by Russia, ”said both ministers. “In light of these circumstances, France and Germany have repeatedly asked Russia to fully investigate the circumstances of this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
So far Russia has not provided a credible explanation. “Therefore, we believe that there is no plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning other than Russia’s involvement and responsibility,” the statement said.
France and Germany would draw the necessary conclusions from these facts and submit proposals for additional sanctions to their European partners. “The proposals are aimed at individuals who are considered responsible for this crime and the violation of international legal standards because of their official function, as well as an institution involved in the Novitschok program.”