The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, reiterated during his visit to Moscow his call to release the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and to investigate his alleged poisoning with a nerve agent. During the joint press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared that Russia currently does not see the European Union as “a reliable partner. Lavrov tried to draw a parallel between the European complaints about the Navalny situation and the trial of the pro-independence in Spain. The Russian minister said “that the Catalan independence leaders are in prison for organizing a referendum.

It is” a decision that the Spanish justice has not revoked “despite the fact that, according to Lavrov’s personal interpretation,” the courts of Germany and Belgium have failed. against “, although, in reality, the opinions of these countries have been on the conditions of the extradition, not on the sentence. But Lavrov asked for the same respect for all.” Spain has defended its judicial system and has asked not to doubt its decisions. That is what we want from the West in terms of reciprocity.

Borrell said nothing about Lavrov’s assertions against the Spanish democratic system. But shortly after the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, responded to the Russian minister: “I remind Minister Lavrov that Spain is one of the 23 full democracies in the world. Russia is in 124th place out of 167 countries.” “In Spain, there are no political prisoners. There are political prisoners. And I hope that Alexei Navalny will have the opportunity to participate and campaign in the next Russian elections as the Catalan independence leaders who are serving time in Spain are doing,” he added.

Borrell’s visit takes place amid controversy over Navalny’s arrest and conviction and the arrest of thousands of protesters. “I conveyed our deep concern to Minister Lavrov and reiterated our demand for his release and the initiation of an impartial investigation into his poisoning,” Borrell told a joint press conference with the Russian foreign minister.
The Russian minister commented on possible EU sanctions in the case of the Russian opponent, “We treat this as an internal EU matter. We are used to the EU resorting more and more to unilateral restrictions that lack a legitimate basis. We start from that the EU is not a reliable partner, at least at this stage, “the minister said after meeting Borrell in Moscow.

On Tuesday, the Russian Justice issued a suspended sentence of 3.5 years in prison against Navalny. The penalty includes the 10 months he spent under house arrest. If his appeal against the sentence is unsuccessful, the opponent faces two years and eight months in prison. Despite the “divergences”, Russia and the European Union agree that it is necessary to broaden the channels of dialogue and that further degradation of their relations can have unpredictable consequences, declared the Russian Foreign Minister.

Borrell also called for the release of Navalny’s followers detained in recent weeks, a demand to which Moscow responded by bringing up cases of police brutality in Europe and even the situation of pro-independence prisoners in Spain. Lavrov took cover in recent cases of police abuse in the EU and the United States. At this point, he brought to the fore the situation of the independent prisoners, as an example of “politically motivated judicial decisions.

On the non-existent investigation in Russia of the attempted assassination of Navalny by FSB agents who have even acknowledged his participation in a telephone conversation, the head of Russian diplomacy has once again called into question the poisoning, doubting the investigation of German scientists. The Russian government has put out conflicting theories about the Navalny poisoning, including that of a sugar crash. In the summer, the opposition leader was evacuated in a coma to Germany, where scientists found the remains of Novichok, the government-controlled toxic agent.

As Lavrov and Borrell spoke, Navalny appeared in Moscow court for the second time this week, this time accused of defaming a World War II veteran. Last year the opposition leader called “corrupt puppets”, “people without conscience” and “traitors” to several people who appeared in a video that promoted the constitutional reform to be able to ‘perpetuate’ Vladimir Putin in power.