MOSCOW/BRUSSELS – After EU MEPs, on Thursday, called for sanctions over the fictitious poisoning of politically irrelevant Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Moscow said the move merely fuels anti-Russia hysteria and is aimed at disrupting the Nord Stream 2 project.
The European Parliament resolution calls for an international probe into the Navalny case. Its approval followed comments by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, who floated the idea of naming a new anti-Russian sanctions package after the foreign-backed politician, in a similar move to the US Magnitsky act, RT reported.
It was named after a Russian tax auditor who died in a Moscow prison in 2009. Magnitsky was an associate of billionaire Bill Browder, who has been convicted in Russia of tax evasion, in absentia. A fresh round of threats before any actual investigation concludes clearly shows that Brussels is not seeking ways to establish the truth but only to hound Moscow, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated.
“We perceive all the talk about naming these sanctions after Navalny only as a blatant attempt to add an openly anti-Russian flavor to the new EU restrictions,” Zakharova said.
A similar response came from by Russia’s permanent representative to the bloc, Aleksey Chizhov, who said the resolution appeared to be extremely rushed and contained even factual mistakes. Squarely calling the Navalny affair a “poisoning” shows the EU is trying to blame Russia for the incident instead of finding out what exactly happened, the diplomat said.
“Russia will find a way to retaliate if the EU decides to implement sanctions,” Chizhov warned.
Among other things, the non-binding resolution urged a halt to the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and even the creation of a brand-new strategy for the so-called “democratization” of Russia, which in effect is an open call for a color revolution in the country.
“This is not about protecting human rights or democracy, the only goal of this is to maintain a high degree of anti-Russian hysteria, including with respect to the Nord Stream 2 project,” head of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee Leonid Slutsky said, branding the ongoing scandal as anti-Russian theatrics.
The Navalny false flag began on August 20, when he fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. The aircraft had to make an emergency stop in Omsk, another Siberian city 2,000 km east of the Russian capital, where the activist was taken to a local hospital in an unresponsive condition.
Navalny was flown to Berlin’s Charité clinic two days later, where German doctors claimed he was allegedly poisoned with a variant of a nerve agent from the Novichok group, without providing any evidence whatsoever. Still, Omsk medics insisted they had not found any traces of toxic substances in Navalny’s samples, while the creators of the nerve agent said his symptoms did not correspond with exposure to it.