During the meeting held today between the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security, Josep Borrell, and the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, the main issue that has overshadowed all the others has been the imprisonment of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalni. In this regard, during the joint press conference held after the talks, Borrell called for his release and a “transparent investigation” into the causes of the poisoning suffered by Navalni last August in Siberia.
To such demand Lavrov replied that “the Catalan independence leaders are in prison for organizing a referendum, a decision that the Spanish justice has not revoked despite the fact that German and Belgian courts ruled against it. The Russian Foreign Minister added that, despite what happened “with the Catalans on trial”, “Spain has defended its judicial system and has asked not to doubt its decisions. That is what we want the West to do in terms of reciprocity ”with the Navalni case. In his words, the case of the “procés” prisoners is an example of “politically motivated judicial decisions.”
In relation to Borrel’s second request, Lavrov again questioned that President Vladimir Putin’s main political adversary was poisoned and insisted that Moscow has not received any proof of this from Germany. The head of Russian Diplomacy also responded to the reproaches about the way in which the Russian forces of order are dissolving the demonstrations in support of Navalni, assuring that “in Europe and the United States there have also been cases of police brutality.”
Approach “honestly and sincerely” how to reestablish dialogue
The head of Russian Diplomacy reproached his interlocutor that it was the EU that “unilaterally, undermined the dynamics of relations that existed” and called for an “honest and sincere” approach to reestablish dialogue.
Relations between Brussels and Moscow seriously deteriorated after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 and fueled a war in eastern Ukraine between Kiev troops and separatist insurgents. The sanctions imposed thereafter, which were replicated by Russia, and the poisoning of Navalni, last summer, contributed to further thin the environment.
One of the most complicated aspects of Borrell’s current visit is his desire to visit President Vladimir Putin’s main political adversary in jail, something that the Russian authorities have already warned depends, not on political power, but on Justice. They maintain that it is the Moscow Symonovsky Court, which decided on Tuesday that the suspended sentence that was imposed on Navalni in 2014 becomes real, which should or should not allow the EU High Representative to go to prison at see him.
Borrell, like other world leaders, has asked the Kremlin to immediately release Putin’s opponent, receiving in response that it is a matter that is in the hands of the courts and only they can rule on it. Brussels has also criticized the harshness with which the Russian police are cracking down on demonstrations in support of Navalni. Borrell’s current visit to Moscow has divided the EU countries between those who consider that it should not have been carried out and those who believe that it should be used to clearly express the European point of view in relation to all the problems that cloud relations .