Moskau, 20 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Friday, exactly one year since Putin critic Alexei Navalny was the target of a poison attack.
The 45-year-old is currently in a prison camp and holds Putin responsible for the assassination attempt on August 20, 2020.
Germany called on Russia to clarify the attack with the chemical agent Novichok. Moscow accuses the West of a smear campaign and continues to demand proof that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.
Navalny was arrested in Moscow on January 17 following his return from Germany, where he had received treatment and also met Merkel.
Navalny is serving his sentence in a prison camp because, according to a verdict, he violated reporting requirements in Russia during his time in Germany. Merkel has repeatedly demanded Navalny’s release.
Navalny’s case is just one in a series of numerous conflict issues that weigh heavily on relations between the two countries.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia because of the internationally condemned attack on Navalny, as well as a hacking attack on the German parliament in 2015 and also because of the Ukraine conflict.
Merkel and Putin are also to address the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which is to be completed this month. In addition, Afghanistan and Belarus are likely to be up for discussion.
Merkel was last in Moscow in January 2020.
She also plans to lay a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier at the Kremlin, 80 years after Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union.