“All those who are calling for pacification, insisting that we respect Russia, are becoming less popular,” Gressel said, and more and more tough against Russia are being heard.
However, this does not translate into immediate action by Germany. Initial calls to cancel the nearly completed $ 11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany have vanished, and Ms Merkel’s government has insisted it will seek a European response to the poisoning.
But from the beginning Ms. Merkel showed an unusually personal interest in Mr. Navalny’s fate. He granted him quick entry into Germany even though most Russians were barred, given the coronavirus threat, and personally announced in particularly harsh terms the discovery that Novichok had shown up in tests on Mr. Navalny ̵
Speaking to reporters in Vilnius, Lithuania on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron echoed Chancellor’s request to Russia to explain what had happened in Navalny ahead of a meeting of the European Council, part of the executive arm of the European Union, on Thursday. It’s Friday. The poisoning was added to the agenda for that meeting.
“This is very clearly an assassination attempt carried out on Russian soil, against a Russian opposition leader with a manipulated chemical agent in Russia,” Mr. Macron told reporters, according to Reuters. “It is therefore up to Russia to provide clarification.”
A European version of the US Magnitsky Act – which sanctions those who violate human rights – would give the blockade an additional tool to use against Moscow in the Navalny case. But even if Europe put their own version together, Mr. Meister expects those affected would be largely limited to people who don’t regularly do business outside of Russia.
The bigger question, however, will be how Russia will decide to treat Mr Navalny once he returns home as he said he intends to do, said Janis Kluge, an analyst for Eastern Europe at the German Institute for International Affairs and security in Berlin.