Kremlin tells West not to rush to judge it on Navalny as sanctions talk starts

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Peskov said Russia was eager to know what had happened to Navalny, but couldn’t do so without receiving information from Germany about the tests that had led to Berlin’s conclusions about Novichok.

OPCW, the global chemical weapons agency, said the poisoning of any individual with a toxic nerve agent would be considered use of a banned chemical weapon.
The European Commission said the bloc could only slap new sanctions on Russia after an investigation revealed who was responsible for Navalny’s poisoning. Lithuania said it would ask EU leaders to discuss the poisoning at their next summit.
Merkel said that any German or European response would depend on whether Russia helped clear up the case.
After her strong statement on Wednesday, she is under pressure at home to reconsider the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will take gas from Russia to Germany.
“We must pursue hard politics, we must respond with the only language (Russian President Vladimir) Putin understands – that is gas sales,” Norbert Roettgen, head of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told German radio.
“If the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is completed now, it would be the maximum confirmation and encouragement for Putin to continue this kind of politics,” Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s conservatives, told German television separately.
Nord Stream 2 is set to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline in carrying gas directly from Russia to Germany. Led by Russian company Gazprom with Western partners, the project is more than 90% finished and due to operate from early 2021. This may complicate efforts to stop it.
It is fiercely opposed by Washington and has divided the European Union, with some countries warning it will undermine the traditional gas transit state, Ukraine, and increase the bloc’s reliance on Russia.
Peskov said the Kremlin regarded talk of trying to thwart Nord Stream 2 as being based on emotions. He said the project was a commercial one which benefited Russia, Germany and Europe.
“We don’t understand what the reason for any sanctions could be,” said Peskov.

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