German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not rule out action regarding her country’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia in responding to the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, her spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.
Seibert, however, noted that it was too early to consider an internationally coordinated response to the poisoning, which Germany has described as a chemical agent attack on Navalny.
Navalny is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critics.
Russia must first answer serious questions on the incident, Seibert said, adding that this was not expected in a matter of mere days.
Construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is nearly complete.
It would double Russian deliveries of natural gas via a Baltic Sea route to Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
The project, already criticised by the U.S. and some Eastern European countries, has come under increased scrutiny following the alleged attack on Navalny.
“I hope that the Russians will not force us to change our stance on Nord Stream 2,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Moscow denies any involvement in the poisoning of Navalny, who is being treated in a Berlin hospital after falling ill on a domestic Russian flight on Aug. 20.
“Attempts to somehow associate Russia or the Russian leadership with what happened are unacceptable to us.
“They are absurd in essence,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news briefing.
According to Peskov, the Kremlin is waiting for information from Germany on the Navalny case.
“We hope that, given the resonance of this issue, information will be provided in the coming days. We are looking forward to it,” Peskov said.
Navalny fell into a coma after being hospitalised in Omsk with suspected poisoning symptoms and was later transferred to Germany for treatment.
Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny, who was in intensive care in a Berlin hospital, was poisoned with a Soviet-style nerve agent, the same type that was used in 2018 to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.