France puts off ministerial meeting with Russia after Navalny poisoning
AFP, , Tuesday 8 Sep 2020

France has put off a meeting in Paris next week between its foreign and defence ministers and their Russian counterparts after the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

"In view of the current circumstances and after an exchange with the Russian authorities, it was decided to postpone the meeting of the Franco-Russian council for cooperation on security questions to a later date," it said.

The ministers were supposed to meet in Paris on September 14 in the so-called 2+2 format that had been a key plank of President Emmanuel Macron's bid to improve ties with Moscow.

Germany, where Navalny is being treated, has said he was poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent Novichok and analysts believe that the severity of the crisis has dealt a heavy blow to Macron's strategy of a rapprochement with Russia.

He and President Vladimir Putin had agreed in telephone talks this summer that the French leader would visit Moscow this autumn but it remains unclear if this will still go ahead.