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Germany says Russian sanctions related to Navalny unjustified

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny delivers a speech during a rally to demand the release of jailed protesters, who were detained during opposition demonstrations for fair elections, in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) - Russian sanctions against Germany in the case of the poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny are not justified, a German government spokesman said in Berlin on Friday.

“A Russian citizen was attacked with a military nerve agent on Russian soil,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

“Russia has all means at its hands to clear up this crime. Instead, the Russian foreign minister announces sanctions against officials of foreign countries,” he added.

“From the perspective of the German government, such a step is obviously unjustified and inappropriate.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said on Thursday that Moscow would soon announce retaliatory measures it has taken against senior French and German officials.

Navalny, who fell ill on a flight in Siberia on Aug. 20 and was airlifted to Berlin for treatment, could have been poisoned in Germany or on the plane to Berlin, Lavrov added.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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