Navalny Incident Not in Focus of Putin-Merkel Conversation

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed that Russian and German leaders Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel in a recent phone conversation touched on the subject of blogger Alexey Navalny, which, as the spokesman revealed, did not top the agenda, TASS reported.

“In our statement we pointed out those conversation subjects that were the most fully discussed and that are the most important,” the spokesman told journalists on Wednesday commenting on the phone conversation between Putin and Merkel on December 7. According to him, “the subject of the Berlin patient was indeed touched upon, which the German side reported on.” The Kremlin representative added that no changes were introduced to the statement by the Kremlin press service.

“Neither Putin, nor Merkel are physicians to discuss the issues of [Navalny’s] treatment,” the spokesman noted answering a question of how exactly the situation around Navalny was discussed. The spokesman did not provide any explanation, reiterating that “the subject was mentioned.”

On Monday, the Kremlin press service reported that Putin and Merkel in a phone conversation hashed over the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, the issues of settlement in Ukraine and implementation of Minsk-2, as well as agreed upon further contacts between the health ministries of Russia and Germany on the issue of vaccines, among others. The Kremlin did not mention the discussion of the situation around Navalny while Germany’s cabinet of ministers reported about it later.

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. Later, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital. On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family. According to Berlin, these conclusions were confirmed by laboratories in France and Sweden.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly emphasized that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany and pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.