23:58 GMT11 May 2021
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - France should avoid the "bellicose" rhetoric used by other European Union member states amid German allegations that Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group, Thierry Mariani, a French member of the European Parliament, said on Wednesday.

    "It is with hindsight and reason that we should read and analyze Russian domestic politics. Not by taking up the bellicose accents of the countries of Eastern Europe whose painful past, in particular, because of the horrors of communism and the geographical situation, have built a difficult relationship with Russia that cannot be that of France," Mariani, who represents the National Rally party in Brussels, said.

    The French member of European Parliament expressed his belief that attempts were ongoing to stir up tensions between the EU and Russia, adding that it was possible to question the circumstances surrounding Navalny's illness.

    "I also believe that powerful relays of influence are at work to heighten tensions between Moscow and the European Union," Mariani stated.

    France has little to gain from framing Russia in such negative terms, adding that it harms the nation’s interests, the French politician, who previously served as a minister under ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, commented.

    "What do we have to gain by dressing the Russians as demons and the Americans as cherubs? Nothing, if only to keep France in a situation of international follow-up that weakens both our aura and our interests," Mariani stated.

    Earlier on Wednesday, the German government issued a press release saying that laboratory analysis of samples taken from Navalny revealed that the opposition figure had a substance from the Novichok group in his system.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said later in the day that no toxic substances were detected in tests conducted on Navalny before he was transported to Berlin for treatment after he fell ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Wednesday evening pointed to a lack of evidence behind the allegations and the ministry itself said in a statement that it is interested in fully exchanging data and information related to the incident with the German authorities.

    Alexei Navalny, Russia, Germany, France
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