German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday faced growing pressure from German politicians demanding to reconsider Germany's attitude to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project after the alleged poisoning of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said that the issue of sanctions against the pipeline through which gas will be supplied from Russia to Germany depends on Moscow's cooperation in figuring out what happened to Navalny.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said suspicion would fall on Russia if it could not help resolve this issue.
The German government says Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent similar to the one used to kill a former Russian spy in England two years ago.
Moscow claims it sees no evidence of his poisoning.
“I've always said that I don't like the Nord Stream 2 project. It has always been clear to me that the security interests of the Eastern European states and Ukraine should be taken into account, ”the German minister said. When asked whether Germany is ready to authorize this project, Kramp-Karranbauer said: “What happens next depends on the behavior of the Russian side.”
Foreign Minister Maas of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), junior partners in Merkel's coalition government, said on Sunday that Moscow's refusal to help clarify the circumstances of Navalny's illness would raise suspicions of the Russian government's involvement.
“I certainly hope the Russians won't force us to change our position on Nord Stream 2,” he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
What happened to Navalny led several leading conservatives to call on Merkel to suspend the project to build a pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland and Ukraine.
Merkel, who sided with Nord Stream 2, said she should not be linked to the Navalny case.