Poisoning victim Alexei Navalny has strongly criticised Gerhard Schröder for refusing to acknowledge that the Kremlin was responsible for the recent attempt on his life.

In a Bild interview, Mr Navalny accused Mr Schröder of being “an errand boy for Putin”.

Meanwhile, Norbert Röttgen, a close aide of Chancellor Angela Merkel, in his own interview with Bild, has accused Mr Schröder of helping to obscure Russian responsibility for the poisoning.

“This behaviour by Mr Schröder fills many in Germany with shame, I think in his party and outside his party,” Mr Röttgen told the popular German newspaper, noting that the ex-chancellor is chairman of the board of the Russian state oil firm Rosneft and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project that will bring Russian gas to western Europe.

Mr Schröder had said on September 30: “Of course I’m also concerned about an attack with poison. He added: “What is happening now is really speculation, because there are no substantiated facts, at least regarding who is responsible for this attack on Mr Navalny.”

According to several reports, Mr Schröder receives an annual salary of $600,000 for his role in Rosneft, just 10 percent of the usual amount paid to baord members.

The Nord Stream 2 project by-passes Ukraine, which will lose transit royalties, and will result in massive west European dependence on Russia’s goodwill.

PHOTO: Fabrizio Bensch Reuters