Europe and the United States have come down hard on Russia for last month’s poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. On Wednesday, Germany said Navalny was the “victim of a crime,” after determining that he was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the latest revelations raise “very serious questions” that Russia must answer.
In her strongest condemnation to date of Navalny’s poisoning, Merkel said the incident an “attempted murder by poisoning of one of Russia’s leading opposition figures.”
“With this, Alexei Navalny is certainly the victim of a crime,” Merkel said. “He was meant to be silenced and I condemn this in the strongest possible manner.”
Russia said it had no response to the German government’s comments on Wednesday.
Navalny was poisoned last month and taken to a hospital in Siberia. Germany then flew him to Berlin to undergo tests. He remains in serious condition, according to the hospital.
Novichok, the poison allegedly used, was the same agent the United Kingdom said was used to try to kill a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in 2018.
Also, Wednesday, the UK and the US both slammed Russia. The UK said Russia “must” reveal what happened to Navalny. A US government source told Reuters that Washington had no reason to doubt the German finding that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok.
The government source added that the poisoning showed Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing “to be bold” in targeting so-called threats.
National Security Council Spokesman John Ullyot said, “The Russian people have a right to express their views peacefully without fear of retribution of any kind, and certainly not with chemical agents.”
– With Reuters, AP