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  • Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is back in court, this time on charges of defaming a World War two veteran who appeared in a government video thes air the latest pictures from Navalny inside of a courtroom in Moscow.

  • He was recently sentenced to several years in jail for allegedly violating his probation in Germany while he recovered from a poisoning attack.

  • Navalny's arrest sparked street protests across Russia.

  • EU leaders have called for his release, further straining ties between the European Union and Russia.

  • Yes, as you've been stolen and on the story for us is DWS Aaron Tilton's standing by in Moscow.

  • Aaron, What's the latest, um, legal move here really about?

  • Well, Alexei Navalny is looking well.

  • He's actually answering to slander charges surrounding on statements he made online in the run up to last year's constitutional referendum Here in Russia, Um, that was a referendum which basically in effect allowed Vladimir Putin, who or could potentially allow him to stay in power well into the 20 thirties.

  • Now, of course, that's something that Alexei Navalny opposed, and specifically regarding the comments he made, he was focusing on a video released by Russia today.

  • Now that's Russia's state broadcaster, and in the video, members of Russian society raised their support and voice their support for this constitutional referendum.

  • Now Alexei Navalny labeled them as traders, which resulted in this landing slander charges that he's facing today.

  • Now, of course, this trial was originally slated to take place last year, but Navalny's poisoning with a Soviet era nerve agent, Nova Chuck and then his resulting recuperation in Germany prevented the trial from taking place.

  • Now, of course, he returned to the country earlier this year, was arrested.

  • And that's part of the reason that prosecutors are now going ahead with this slander case.

  • Aaron.

  • Any indications of potential verdict?

  • Well, no, of course, we don't know exactly how the court is likely, um, to rule, but it bears saying that the Russian judiciary has never been very sympathetic to Alexei Navalny in the past.

  • Now, if he were to be sentenced, he could be facing additional jail time or a fine or something akin to community service.

  • But at least here in Moscow, it's not expected that he will be facing additional jail time specifically because he is already looking down the barrel of a 2 to 3 year sentence on a different fraud charge.

  • Instead, if you talk to people around Lexi Navalny's orbit, they say that there's a little bit of a different motivation behind this slander charges.

  • Right now, they say that the Kremlin is attempting to hurt.

  • Alexa is standing in the court of public opinion.

  • You have to remember, World War Two veterans are held up to a very, very high standard in high regard here in Russia.

  • So by accusing him of slandering one of them, it could be an attempt to harm his standing with everyday Russians.

  • And at the same time, his defense team is still looking at avenues that they could use to get him out of jail long term.

  • And this ties them up in court in a time where they could be using those resource is elsewhere.

  • So, of course, the position of the Russian government is that these are serious charges.

  • But if you ask people surrounding Team Navalny, they say it's an attempt to basically harassed them in in the court of law.

  • Okay, Aaron, I want to talk about on the diplomatic level internationally because we have this very dramatic threat today from the foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, saying that Moscow is ready to sever ties with the European Union.

  • Just walk us through the back story here and what such a move could mean.

  • Well, I mean, on the face of it, it's kind of hard to take these that threat seriously.

  • I mean, you have to remember the European Union is still the most important trading partner to the Russian Federation.

  • It's also the largest sort of source, rather of direct investment within the country.

  • So it's hard to imagine a scenario where Moscow and the you could completely sever ties and to be absolutely honest, I mean, the relationship has been leveled, loaded with sanctions since the Crimea conflict, and since the conflict in Ukraine and they're still talking to each other, they're still working with each other.

  • So it's It's kind of hard to imagine a scenario where they could completely break off ties and you also have to look at the context that these statements were made and it was made on Ah live stream of a Russian journalist, Vladimir Solovyov, who is often considered to be one of the Kremlin's chief propaganda, see, often gives the Kremlin um, an avenue to help shape the conversation within the country.

  • So these statements, it does seem because they were taking place in that live stream.

  • It seems they were mawr intended towards domestic consumption as opposed to being sent up of message directly labeled at the European Union.

  • So I would say, Well, of course you have to take statements like this Seriously, I would say this is Maura Little bit of saber rattling intended for domestic consumption rather than a threat directly at the U Aaron Hilton in Moscow.

  • Thank you, thank you, Alexey Navalny is also the focus of a growing diplomatic crisis between the EU and Russia that we've just been hearing about from Aaron.

  • Moscow says that it's ready to cut ties with Brussels if the EU goes ahead with harsh economic sanctions when possible.

  • Target is a nearly completed gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

  • Some people say that linking these projects to human rights concerns is a really bad idea.

  • Have a look.

  • The North Stream two is ready, at least the German end of the nearly 2500 kilometer long pipeline.

  • It starts here in the Baltic Sea town of Luqman the receiving terminal, with its thick pipes and heavy safety valves, has been ready to go since the summer.

  • Lumens.

  • Mayor Oxy forked is concerned that despite this, the Russian gas pipeline might never be operational.

  • It would give us a very bad public image if we had an investment disaster of this magnitude, and the political debate continued to be so heated.

  • I suspect that would also scare off investors we'd like to keep this.

  • 150 kilometers of pipeline has become a hot topic.

  • The section has yet to be completed on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, but calls for tougher sanctions against Russia are getting louder.

  • After the reported poisoning of opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, many demanded a halt to construction off the North Stream.

  • Two local authorities refused to believe that construction might be stopped.

  • Can you really lengthy case of navalny toe a project like North Stream two?

  • Wouldn't it be better to look at these two events separately, especially when the facts, at least according to my assessments, are not yet clear enough to place the blame on Russian government?

  • The mayor is voicing the opinion of the citizens of Luqman a seaside resort on the Baltic Sea.

  • Because of the coronavirus, there aren't enough tourists, but there are also very few locals on the beach.

  • Their opinion is almost unanimous.

  • People think everything the Russians do is bad.

  • That's not right.

  • Navalny is unimportant.

  • North Stream is important.

  • Can we afford to waste millions?

  • Billions Compromises have to be made.

  • I think it must be completed way.

  • Only one person dares to criticize Russia.

  • They were historically a reliable partner as long as it benefited them for political reasons, I would not continue this project.

  • Very Jesus Project Inishmaan provoked all that matters is a consistent supply of energy.

  • After Germany's nuclear phase out, gas will become essential, he says.

  • Even if it comes from Russia Way find Russia, including Vladimir Putin, to be a reliable partner in social and economic life in the state of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania, and especially here at our energy and business site, I see no reason for Putin or the Russian government to be sidelined.

  • Lukman expects Russian natural gas to flow through these pipes soon, so as we've been hearing there, some in the region are very much pro north.

  • Stream two, Let's hear from somebody who thinks that the project should be canceled.

  • We're joined now by Agnieszka Bruguera.

  • She is a member of the German parliament for the opposition Green Party, and she sits on the Bundestag's Defense committee.

  • Welcome to the program, and thank you for joining us.

  • Um, as we've been hearing there.

  • Supporters of this project say it's an economic.

  • It's not a political project.

  • It should not be used as political leverage.

  • What is your view?

  • I think building this pipeline waas wrong all along on Bond.

  • There are many reasons why this is so on, but it's never too late to fix the mist.

  • Ake and I think the most important reason, um, is that we have to take our own climate goals seriously.

  • And this is why the Green Party has been opposed from the beginning to gnaw Austrian too.

  • But there is, of course, a link to the attempted murder attack on Navalny because the German government should send a very clear message to Putin and to the Kremlin that we will not, uh, that this unanswered and this would be a decision that would hurt.

  • I want to get your opinion on a counter argument now.

  • And here's the German foreign minister, speaking in Parliament earlier this week.

  • Let's have a listen, but they're not streams.

  • Anyone who fundamentally questions the Nord Stream two pipeline and you can certainly advocate that opinion must also consider a t least geo strategically, what consequences that will have.

  • It will drive Russia and China closer and closer together, and it will create the largest economic military alliance there is.

  • And I don't think that should be the strategy of the West in this dispute.

  • And that's why I'm against burning all bridges to Russia in this context.

  • So when you put it in the broader geo strategic picture as we're seeing there, does the foreign minister have a point?

  • I don't think so, because first we have to take our climate go seriously.

  • And when we do that, we see that the time off this make a fossil fuel project is over.

  • We have already over capacity in our infrastructure, so we really don't need it, and it's bad for the climate.

  • But the other hand we see when the when the foreign minister says this is the only good, uh, link we have with President Putin.

  • We have to cooperate in questions off energy.

  • We can cooperate on renewable energies.

  • And I think the time is up for only concerned words.

  • We have to send a very clear message to the Kremlin on DNA on Lee.

  • Take symbolical.

  • Um, answers.

  • Okay, so your position is clear.

  • So then let me ask you, You know what the next step would be if that indeed was carried out?

  • Because the back and forth about North Stream two also of course has economic financial implications.

  • There are private companies involved here.

  • The project costs, um, €10 billion.

  • Who should answer for the losses if the project is indeed killed?

  • Um, it's not not really clear how to get out off this project.

  • We don't have the contracts, and the German government does not answer many questions about it.

  • Um, the first step would be to withdraw the political support off the coalition.

  • Andi, I think it's the most important one.

  • If you want to stop the project, and then you have to look for a good way out, you have to look at the contracts.

  • And there are still some issues.

  • Some legal issues about environmental impact assessments from the European side or also about competition roots.

  • So there are maybe many ways of which could lead Thio an end off this project AG Mexico Program member of the German Parliament for the opposition Green Party.

  • Thank you.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is back in court, this time on charges of defaming a World War two veteran who appeared in a government video thes air the latest pictures from Navalny inside of a courtroom in Moscow.

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Conflicts over Nord Stream 2 reignite as Europe plans to sanction Russia over Navalny | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/12
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