Germany confirms the poisoning of Russian dissident Navalny with nerve gas

The German government announced on Wednesday that the medical examinations conducted by the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in a laboratory of the German army confirmed the existence of “conclusive evidence” that he was a victim of poisoning with a “Novichok type nerve”.

The government said in a statement that it “condemns this attack in the strongest terms” and requests “urgent” explanations from Russia about this poisoning.

A German Armed Forces laboratory examined Navalny, who was admitted to hospital in Berlin in late August after being transferred from Siberia.

The German government revealed that these tests gave “conclusive evidence of the presence of a neurotoxic chemical of the Novichok type” in Navalny.

German government considered, “It is shocking that Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a toxic neurochemical in Russia”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met with the ministers concerned with this issue, will deliver a speech Wednesday at 3:30 pm GMT.

The government said that “the Foreign Ministry will inform the Russian ambassador of the results of the investigation”.

She indicated that Germany will also inform its “European Union and NATO partners of the results of the investigation,” adding that “it will discuss an appropriate joint response with its partners in light of the Russian declaration”.

The German government also intends to “communicate with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons”, which prohibits the use of Novichok-type materials.

The government concluded by saying, “We hope for a full recovery for Navalny”.

For its part, France condemned Wednesday the “shocking and irresponsible use” of a nerve agent of the Novichok type against Alexei Navalny, according to the results of analyzes conducted by the Russian opposition in Germany that proved poisoning with this banned substance.

“I would like to denounce in the strongest terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such a substance,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

“Given Navalny’s political position in Russia, the attack on him raises urgent questions.

It is the responsibility of the Russian authorities to answer them”.

He explained that “France is in close contact with the German authorities as well as with our partners to coordinate the due response” to the operation, which sparked a wave of condemnation in the West.

In the statement, Le Drian stressed that “the use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, from whatever and in any circumstance, is unacceptable and violates international standards against the use of these weapons”.

In the context, Britain called on Russia on Wednesday to “tell the truth” about the fate of the Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, who, according to Berlin, was poisoned by a neurotoxic substance of the Novichok type, considering that “it is absolutely unacceptable” to use a “prohibited chemical weapon”.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “It is absolutely unacceptable to use this banned chemical weapon again and for violence to again target a Russian opposition figure”.

“The Russian government… must tell the truth about what happened to Navalny,” he added.

He pledged to “work closely with Germany and our international allies and partners to demonstrate that the use of banned chemical weapons, wherever in the world, has consequences”.

On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the poisoning of the “shocking” Russian opposition with a poisonous substance of the Novichok type, as Berlin confirmed, calling on Russia to investigate the case.

“The German government announced that Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a Novichok neurotoxic substance,” Stoltenberg said in a statement. 

This is shocking, and I condemn him in the strongest terms”.

Stoltenberg considered that “the use of a military-grade neurotoxic substance makes it more urgent that the Russian authorities conduct a comprehensive and transparent investigation,” stressing that those responsible for the attack must be held accountable.

“We will consult with Germany and all allies on the implications of these results. NATO views any use of chemical weapons as a threat to international peace and security.

The nerve gas Novichok, developed in the Soviet era, was used to poison the former double agent Sergey Skripal in 2018 on British soil.

On 4 March 2018, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, southern England, and were admitted to hospital in critical condition.

Skripal and his daughter survived the attack, but a local woman died after she found a bottle and used it because she thought it was perfume. Investigators believe that Novichok gas was brought from Russia in the flask.

The case has triggered expulsions of diplomats unprecedented since the Cold War between Russia and Western countries.

Navalny is the most prominent opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and posts denouncing the corruption of the Russian elite are widely shared on social media.