Navalny affair – Moscow expels German, Polish and Swedish diplomats

Representatives of three European countries are said to have taken part in rallies in support of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny. The Kremlin did not like it.

The number of expelled diplomats was not specified by Moscow.

KEYSTONE

Russia declared on Friday persona non grata of diplomats from Germany, Poland and Sweden. They are accused of having participated in a demonstration in favor of the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny.

These diplomats, whose number is not specified, are accused of having participated in these gatherings “illegal on January 23” in St. Petersburg and Moscow, said the Russian Foreign Ministry. Russian diplomacy considers “such actions unacceptable and incompatible with their diplomatic status”.

“The Russian side expects that in the future the diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany and their staff will scrupulously respect the standards of international law”, a- she continued.

A few hours earlier, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borell had judged that relations with Russia were “at their lowest” because of the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexey Navalny.

Unhealthy situation

“It is certain that our relations are severely strained and the Navalny affair is a lower one”, estimated Josep Borrell in front of his counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The Russian minister, without mentioning the name of the opponent, said he was ready to “discuss any subject”, while making the EU responsible for existing tensions.

“Our main problem is the lack of normalcy in Russia-EU relations (…) it is an unhealthy situation which does not serve anyone”, he said, wishing for a “frank and detailed” discussion with Mr. Borrell.

Russia has already described as “interference” European critics denouncing the prosecution of Alexeï Navalny and the brutal repression of demonstrations of support for the opponent in recent days.

Targeted sanctions

The EU has also denounced the poisoning by a military nerve agent developed during the Soviet times of which he was the victim in August in Siberia. Faced with Moscow’s refusal to investigate, the Europeans adopted targeted sanctions against senior Russian officials.

Russia has never admitted that Alexei Navalny was the subject of an assassination attempt or acknowledged the results of European laboratory analyzes identifying the poison, citing a Western plot. The opponent accuses President Vladimir Putin of having given the order to kill him and the security services (FSB) of having poisoned him.

ATS

Posted today at 4:22 p.m.

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