Meanwhile, the German Vice-Chancellor called on Russia to assist in investigating the poisoning of the opposition leader.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a private visit to Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny as he was being treated in a Berlin hospital for poisoning. Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday called the result of a “bloodthirsty attack.”
Scholz’s comments and news of Merkel’s visit are likely to irritate Moscow, which rejects the conclusions of German, French and Swedish experts that Navalny was poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent. Russia has repeatedly criticized Germany for refusing to provide information on the case.
“This was a private visit to Navalny in the hospital,” Merkel’s official spokesman Steffen Seibert said at a regular news conference, declining to reveal details about what was said or how long the meeting lasted.
Navalny himself tweeted that it was “a private meeting and conversation with the family.” “I’m very grateful to Chancellor Merkel for the fact that she came to visit me in the hospital,” he added.
Scholz said that international organizations independently confirmed that Navalny Was poisoned with Novichok, and called on Moscow to cooperate in the investigation.
“It was a brutal, bloodthirsty attack,” Scholz told members of the foreign press association in Berlin. – That’s why we call on Russia to facilitate the investigation. And, of course, Europe will have to make a joint decision on the appropriate response.”
Germany currently holds the transitional presidency of the EU.