The European Union mulled additional sanctions against the Russian Federation after a German bioweapons lab confirmed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the same agent that was used against the Skripals in the United Kingdom.
Germany called for ‘consequences’ for the use of a chemical weapon against the Kremlin nemesis.
“We have high expectations of the Russian government to solve this serious crime,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told German daily Bild. “If the government has nothing to do with the attack, then it is in its own interest to back this up with facts.”
If Russia does not help clarify what happened “in the coming days”, Germany will be compelled to “discuss a response with our allies,” Maas said.
The crime against Navalny was a violation of the international Chemical Weapons Convention and there must be an appropriate response, he said. “When we think about sanctions, they should be as targeted as possible,” reported The Moscow Times.
“I hope… that the Russians do not force us to change our position on Nord Stream,” Maas said, adding that the consequences of any potential cancellation of the project would also need to be weighed, and that the debate on sanctions should not be “reduced” to one point.
In another interview, Mass seemed to backtrack on the poisoning impacting the Nordstream II pipeline under construction from Russia, which would make Berlin even more dependent on Russian gas.
The German top diplomat pointed out that the gas pipeline’s construction involves “over 100 companies form 12 European countries and about half of them come from Germany.” “It is not the case to narrow discussions to the Nord Stream 2 issue,” he added, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
The Russian ruble lost value against major international currencies since the Navalny incident over fears of additional sanctions, hitting over 88 against the euro and a high 70s handle against the U.S. dollar.
Last month Russia continued its planned departure from dependence on the dollar by issuing its first loan with cryptocurrency used as collateral.
Lender Expobank said it issued an individual loan to businessman Mikhail Uspensky earlier this week, with Uspensky putting up Waves crypto tokens as collateral for the agreement, reported The Moscow Times.
The value of the loan was not disclosed. Kommersant said the bank consulted a number of lawyers and crypto experts on the deal beforehand, resulting in the Waves tokens being defined as “other property” and placed in an escrow account for the purposes of securing the loan.
Tanzila Yandieva, head of Expobank’s legal department said the deal was “precedent-setting for both the banking and legal communities.”
Russian consumers have expressed fear that additional sanctions from the West will further weaken the Russian economy and even prevent travel abroad for Russian citizens.
- Trump Says US Has No Proof Navalny Was Poisoned, But Does Not Doubt Germany’s Conclusion
- Navalny Ally Says Poisoning ‘New Chapter’ In Kremlin Crackdown