13:23 GMT08 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The western countries are attempting to sideline issues around the so-called poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny by focusing on protests in his support, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

    In mid-January, Navalny returned to Russia after receiving treatment in Germany following a suspected poisoning in Siberia. Berlin claims that German doctors found evidence of poisoning with a nerve agent from the Novichok group in Navalny's body, a claim vehemently refuted by Moscow. Germany has also said that French and Swedish laboratories carried out independent research and confirmed that Navalny was poisoned. In addition, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that Navalny was poisoned with a toxin that resembles Novichok but is not on its list of banned substances.

    Unauthorised demonstrations swept through Russian cities on January 23 and 31 in support of now-sentenced Navalny, who was detained in Moscow upon his arrival from Germany.

    "Today we simply bogged down in a topic that for some reason the West is now trying to sideline, focusing all of its attention on protests and demonstrations in the Russia. I am referring to the topic of finding the truth about what happened to Navalny and when and where it happened," Lavrov said at a joint press conference after a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.
    Unauthorised rallies in support of Alexei Navalny  Moscow 23 January
    © Sputnik / Yevgeny Odinokov
    Unauthorised rallies in support of Alexei Navalny Moscow 23 January

    The top Russian diplomat added that Russia sent "numerous requests" to Germany, France, Sweden and OPCW regarding Navalny’s case but received no answers.

    "They just won't give us any answers. [they say] ‘You [Russia] know everything yourself.' That's not polite, to put it mildly," Lavrov added.

    The foreign minister called such behavior from Europe "categorically unacceptable" and called for transparency and honesty.

    US, EU, Alexei Navalny, West, Russia
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