Merkel's possible successor accuses Putin of refugee crisis

One of the leading politicians from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Friedrich Merz harshly criticized the policy of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "This man and his army are bombing hospitals, kindergartens, schools and nursing homes," Merz said in a video interview with Bild, referring to the war in Syria. According to the politician, the influx of refugees to Europe is largely caused by "barbaric military actions by the Russian army, for which Putin is responsible."

Syria has been gripped for more than nine years by a military conflict between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and various factions of his opponents, as well as terrorist groups. The fighting has killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions of Syrians to flee the country. Russia is supporting the Assad regime.

At the same time, Merz supported the tightening of the federal government's course in relations with Moscow, after the resonant poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The escalation of tensions in bilateral relations now comes not from Germany or Europe, but "exclusively from Russia," Merz said.

According to the German politician, since Russia is not investigating this crime on its territory, "the time has come to ask whether we can continue to act as before."

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny became ill on August 20 on board the plane flying from Tomsk to Moscow. The airliner made an emergency landing in Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalized. On August 22, at the request of Navalny's relatives, he was taken to the Charite hospital in Berlin for treatment. The politician was in an induced coma for 19 days.

At the request of the hospital, experts of the special laboratory of the German armed forces conducted a toxicological analysis of samples taken from Navalny and found in them traces of the combat nerve agent from the Novichok group. The German government stressed that there is no doubt about conclusions of the Bundeswehr specialists. Moscow denies all accusations of involvement in the assassination attempt on the Russian opposition leader

  Putin, Merkel, Russia