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Moscow comments on ‘anti-Russian’ rhetoric from Germany

In an exclusive television interview with RT on Wednesday, Lavrov was asked to comment on deteriorating relations between the two countries, and to respond to German accusations that the impasse is Russia’s fault.

“They say they want to have normal relations with Russia, but first Russia has to change its behavior, full stop,” the diplomat replied. He reported that he had recently met with Annalena Baerbock, the German Foreign Minister, and that she had accepted an invitation to visit Russia.

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“And I said that in the coalition agreement of the new German government, there is a provision on deep and diverse Russian-German ties,” Lavrov went on. “But there are also different approaches to relations between us. I don’t even want to quote them. They’re saying that civil society is shrinking in Russia, and that they’re trying to make us stop destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, and so on.”

The diplomat emphasized that the nature of German politics means that different administrations will have varying approaches to relations with his country, and that “we accept this as a fact of life.” The leaders of the Social Democratic Party, which heads the current governing coalition, “have been most productive when it comes to mutually beneficial cooperation between Moscow and Berlin,” he said. “And we hope that the SDP’s partners in the coalition will pay greater attention to how we can advance our positive agenda.”

“But the approach they have that one side is doing everything perfectly, and the other side should change its behavior altogether – well, you understand that that cannot happen,” Lavrov concluded.

Ties between the two nations have been strained in recent years, with Berlin leading the charge on allegations that Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was poisoned as part of a state-backed assassination attempt. Navalny, who was taken ill during a flight from Tomsk to Moscow, was flown to Berlin’s Charité hospital in a comatose state, where local doctors said they found traces of the deadly nerve agent Novichok in samples taken from him.

Moscow, however, insists that requests for evidence have gone unanswered by German authorities, and has decried the accusations as a pretext for economic sanctions.

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