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Germany says ‘unequivocal evidence’ Putin critic Navanly poisoned with nerve agent

Alexey Navalny at a rally in Moscow. (Wikimedia Commons)
September 02, 2020

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

The German government assessed Wednesday, based on what it described as “unequivocal evidence,” that hospitalized Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, 44, was in fact poisoned by a nerve agent belonging to the Novichok group of nerve agents.

The German Federal Government released a statement Wednesday, which described Navalny’s lab results assessing he was poisoned with a Russian nerve agent while traveling in Russia. The lab results were collected by Germany’s special Bundeswehr military laboratory. Navalny has been a frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Navalny fell ill around Aug. 20, as he was on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. The flight he was on was forced to make an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk, where was taken to an intensive care unit in a comatose state. Navalny was later evacuated to Berlin, Germany and early tests determined he was poisoned with cholinesterase inhibitors. The new lab results indicate the cholinesterase inhibitor poisoning is consistent with Novichok nerve agents.

The full translated statement reads:

At the instigation of the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a special Bundeswehr laboratory carried out a toxicological test using samples from Alexei Navalny. Thereby the unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was provided.

Alexei Navalny had been flown from Russia to Berlin for medical treatment on August 22nd with symptoms of poisoning. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the Head of the Federal Chancellery, Prof. Helge Braun, discussed this at noon today and agreed on further steps.

It is a startling event that Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia. The federal government condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms. The Russian government is urged to explain itself to the incident.

Ms. Navalny and the attending doctors were informed of the results of the examination.

The Foreign Office will inform the Ambassador of Russia about the results of the investigation. The Federal Government will inform its partners in the EU and NATO about the results of the investigation via the Federal Foreign Office in the channels provided for this purpose. It will discuss an appropriate joint reaction with the partners in the light of the Russian agreement. The Federal Government will also contact the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The federal government will inform the parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag.

We hope for a full recovery of Alexei Navalny.

Navalny has raised numerous allegations of corruption in the past. Navalny has been barred from running for president and had a bid to run for Moscow mayor blocked.

Navalny has also suffered past attacks. He suffered chemical burns to one of his eyes in 2017 after he was splashed with an antiseptic dye. He has also been jailed several times and in one case, in July 2019, Navalny was given a 30-day jail term after calling for unauthorized protests. During that jail sentence, he fell ill and was hospitalized with severe swelling to his face, for which he later claimed he was poisoned.