Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
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French, Swedish labs confirm Alexei Navalny poisoned with Novichok: Germany


Specialized labs in France and Sweden have independently confirmed that Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-style nerve agent Novichok, the German government said Monday.

Meanwhile, Berlin’s Charite hospital — to which the Kremlin critic was evacuated after taking ill on a flight over Siberia last month — said Navalny has been removed from ventilation and can leave his bed, the BBC reported.

The hospital said in a tweet that he continued to improve and was “currently undergoing mobilization and is able to leave his bed for short periods of time.”

Military doctors at the hospital were the first to say Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok

Separately, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov canceled his trip to Berlin for talks, which has been scheduled for Tuesday, according to Russian media, which cited a change in schedule by German officials.

Lavrov accused the West of using Navalny’s poisoning as a pretext to impose additional sanctions on Russia, according to the Interfax news agency, Reuters reported.

The 44-year-old had been in an induced coma since he was flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment two days after he became sick on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow.

Aides believe he sipped tea laced with poison at the airport, and his family has always pointed the finger at the Kremlin.

German chemical weapons experts have said tests proved “without doubt” that he was poisoned with Novichok. Navalny awoke from a coma last week.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said samples taken from Navalny had also been sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague for tests in their labs, Reuters reported.

“Independently of the OPCW’s investigations, three laboratories have now independently identified a military nerve agent as the cause of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning,” Seibert said.

He said Germany had asked France and Sweden for an “independent review” of the German findings using new samples from the opposition leader.

Moscow has insisted it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

But Seibert on Monday renewed Germany’s demand that “Russia explain itself” on the matter, adding that “we are in close consultation with our European partners on further steps.”

The Kremlin has prodded Germany to share the evidence that led it to conclude “without doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the Soviet-era agent that British authorities said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

With Post Wires