Labs confirm Navalny poisoning, says Germany
BERLIN — The German government has claimed that specialist labs in France and Sweden have confirmed that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.
A German military laboratory previously confirmed the substance in his samples.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday said that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has also received samples and is taking steps to have those tested at its reference laboratories.
Navalny, the most visible opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on Aug. 20 on a domestic flight in Russia. Berlin has demanded that Russia investigate the case.
Seibert on Monday renewed Germany’s demand that “Russia explain itself” on the matter.
The Kremlin has bristled at calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders for Russia to answer questions in the case, denying any official involvement and accusing the West of trying to smear Moscow.
It has accused Germany of dragging its heels on cooperating with Russian requests to help investigate the case, which Berlin denies.
Navalny was kept in an induced coma for more than a week as he was treated with an antidote, before hospital officials said a week ago that his condition had improved enough for him to be brought out of it.
It isn’t clear when Berlin’s Charite hospital will next issue an update on his condition. — Agencies