Saturday, 27 February, 2021

Russia’s Navalny poisoned with Novichok – German government

Published on: 8:58 pm - Wednesday | September 2, 2020


The German government has said toxicological exams at Berlin’s Charité hospital have yielded “unequivocal proof” that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Navalny, a strong critic of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on 20 August and was transferred to Berlin two days later.

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said in a statement that testing by a special military laboratory had shown proof of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group.

Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent, was used to poison the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain. It is a cholinesterase inhibitor, part of the class of substances that doctors at the Charité initially identified in Navalny.

According to German news magazine Der Spiegel, experts at the Charité sought advice from Porton Down, Britain’s secretive laboratory for research on chemical and biological weapons, because of possible similarities with the 2018 Skripal attack.

The German government’s official statement described the attack on Navalny with a chemical nerve agent an “astounding act” and appealed to the Russian government to urgently offer an explanation.

Seibert said the German government would inform its partners in the European Union and Nato about the test results. He said it would consult with its partners in light of the Russian response on an appropriate joint response.

Navalny’s allies in Russia have insisted he was deliberately poisoned by the country’s authorities, accusations that the Kremlin rejected as empty noise.

The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they had ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and that their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.