Navalny: Kremlin critic poisoned with Novichok, chemical weapons watchdog confirms

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia on Dec. 26, 2019.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia on Dec. 26, 2019. Copyright AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Copyright AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
By Alice Tidey
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"Any use of chemical weapons is serious and cannot be without consequences," Germany said after the OPCW confirmed that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.


The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on Tuesday that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

The Hague-based organisation said that an analysis carried out by its laboratories of Navalny's blood and urine samples found the presence of chemicals similar to the one found in the victims of Novichok attacks in the UK in 2018.

The military-grade chemical agents were recently banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

"This once again confirms the unequivocal evidence that Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group," a statement from the German Chancellery said.

Germany also renewed "its call on Russia to explain what has happened" and said that it would discuss "the next steps" with the OPCW and EU member states over the coming days.

"Any use of chemical weapons is serious and cannot be without consequences," the statement added.

Navalny fell ill on an August 20 flight with his team immediately suspecting foul play. Doctors in the Siberian city of Omsk where he was first treated refuted that he had been poisoned but laboratories in France, Sweden, and Germany — where he was medevacked on August 22 — all found traces of Novichok in his system.

The prominent Russian opposition figure was taken out of his induced coma on September 7 and has since been discharged from the Berlin hospital he was treated in. He remains in Germany but has said he intends to return to his native country.

He has also directly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind his poisoning. The Kremlin vehemently denies that and has accused Germany of failing to share actual evidence.

In a speech on Monday, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow is "interested in establishing the truth about Alexei Navalny."

"That said, this is an outrageous situation that is unfolding following the exact same scenario as in the so-called Skripal case, when accusations were made without presenting evidence.

"It seems that their [Germany, France, and the EU] Russophobic fervour is so strong that it prevents them from exercising good judgement. We regret that trade and economic cooperation is becoming increasingly politicised," he added.

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