Germany hands data on Navalny’s poisoning over to the OPCW

Monday, 14 Sep, 2020

Navalny had been in Siberia to promote his "smart voting" campaign when he was poisoned with what Germany says was a Novichok nerve agent.

Navalny is now receiving treatment - and protection - at the Charite hospital in Berlin.

Germany says Navalny was the victim of an attempt to kill him and has demanded an explanation from Russian Federation.

Moscow responded by pointing to the lack of evidence for Berlin's claims and noting that the Russian doctors had found no toxic substances in Navalny. On Friday, Berlin accepted a request by Moscow for further information about the alleged poisoning. "An independent global investigation with experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is crucial", Reinsalu said, according to a ministry press release.

In a statement, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said testing by a special German military laboratory had shown "proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group".

"This is about a crime that took place in Russian Federation with a chemical nerve agent that is internationally prohibited - the OPCW is the logical point of contact", he told reporters.

The comments come as President Donald Trump has declined to condemn Russian Federation for the opposition leader's poisoning even as world leaders have censured Russian Federation and demanded answers.

The implication of these comments is that the Russian Interior Ministry's investigation is not a criminal case, or could be a deliberate effort to discredit the possibility of a criminal assault.

The move to task Berlin prosecutors to work with Russian investigators came a week after Russia's request for assistance was received by the Berlin state Justice Ministry.

It also requested permission to ask clarifying and more questions.

"Der Spiegel and Bellingcat understand that Navalny can speak again and can likely remember details about his collapse", the magazine wrote, crediting its investigative website partner.

Navalny's allies have pressed ahead with the Kremlin critic's "smart voting" strategy, naming more than a thousand politicians on the ballots they think can beat ruling party candidates and telling their supporters to vote for them.

"This is an awesome case example ... you can actually engage in politics and it's not futile as it had seemed just so recently", said Fateev. "On the contrary, in the great majority of cases we have clear evidence that the murders took place at least in connection with state authorities".

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, has been used against people who Russian Federation perceives as adversaries", Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson said Thursday.