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Seize frozen Russian assets in Navalny’s name – German MP

Legislation allowing such a move should be called “Navalny Laws,” Norbert Rottgen said

Russia’s assets that remain frozen in the West should be confiscated in response to the death of opposition activist and anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny, German parliament member Norbert Rottgen has said.

This money should be used to provide more arms to the Ukrainian military for use in the conflict with Russia, Rottgen suggested in his speech to the Bundestag on Wednesday.

Legislation that would allow the confiscation of an estimated $300 billion in assets owned by the Russian central bank, which were blocked by the US and the EU after the outbreak of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in February 2022, should be named “Navalny Laws,” he added.

Navalny died last Friday in a Russian prison, where he had been serving a lengthy sentence stemming from the violation of the terms of his earlier fraud sentence and his “extremist activities.” The opposition figure had denied any wrongdoing, describing the charges as politically motivated.

According to the prison authorities, Navalny suddenly “felt ill” after a walk and collapsed, with efforts to resuscitate him failing. The cause of the 47-year-old’s death remains unclear, but a source has told RT that it may have been the result of a blood clot. An investigation is ongoing.

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Alexey Navalny in Moscow, December 2017.
EU demands ‘international investigation’ into Navalny’s death

Rottgen was quick to blame the Russian president for Navalny’s passing, saying: “this murder was of course a matter for the boss. [Vladimir] Putin is the perpetrator.”

The lawmaker from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) also insisted that Germany’s deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine must “now be ramped up.”

Frank Schwabe from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is part of the ruling coalition, also blamed Putin for the activist’s death. “We demand further sanctions for the Russian regime and must do everything we can to help Ukraine win,” he said.

Omid Nouripour, the leader of the Greens, another member of the ruling coalition, suggested that the Russian president bears “at least political” responsibility for what had happened to Navalny.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said it was “completely unacceptable” for Western politicians to make “outrageous statements” regarding Navalny’s death while the investigation into the case is still ongoing.

READ MORE: Russian asset seizure would boomerang – US senator

Moscow has repeatedly said that the seizure of its funds by the US and the EU would be tantamount to “theft” and would trigger a response. Russian officials have also warned that such an “illegal” move could further undermine global trust in the Western financial system.

February 22, 2024 at 06:19PM

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