The Kremlin on Thursday rejected accusations that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and said it saw no grounds for sanctions to be imposed against Moscow over the case.
The Kremlin was speaking a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him.
Navalny, who's 44, is an outspoken opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has specialized in high-impact investigations into official corruption.
He collapsed on a domestic Russian flight after drinking a cup of tea that his allies said was poisoned and was airlifted to Germany last week.
A Kremlin spokesman said Moscow rejected any suggestion Russia was behind the attack on Navalny and warned other countries against jumping to hasty conclusions.
Merkel has said Germany would consult its NATO allies about how to respond to the poisoning.
She faced growing pressure on Thursday to reconsider the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will take gas from Russia to Germany, after her statement on Navalny, who is being treated in a Berlin hospital.
Nord Stream 2 is set to double the capacity of the existing Nord Stream 1 pipeline in carrying gas directly from Russia to Germany.
It is more than 90% finished and due to operate from early 2021.
The Kremlin said it regarded talk of taking action against the pipeline as being based on emotions, and that the project was a commercial one which benefited Russia, Germany and Europe.