The German government said Monday that laboratories in France and Sweden have confirmed their own findings that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement that Germany had asked France and Sweden “for an independent review of German evidence (of Novichok poisoning) based on new samples from Mr Navalny”, who is treating in Berlin becomes.
“The results of this review in specialized laboratories in France and Sweden are now available and confirm the German evidence (of Novichok poisoning),” said Seibert.
He said Germany is still awaiting the outcome of a separate assessment by the OPCW’s global chemical weapons watchdog.
However, on the basis of the results of the three European laboratories, Seibert said Germany was renewing “its request to Russia to make a statement about what happened” on the Navalny case.
“We are in close contact with our European partners on further steps,” he added.
The 44-year-old Kremlin critic and anti-corruption fighter fell ill after boarding a plane in Siberia last month and was hospitalized there before being flown to Berlin.
Germany said two weeks ago there was “clear evidence” that he was poisoned with novichok, but Russia angrily rejected the results, claiming its doctors had found no trace of the poison.
Navalny has now emerged from a medically-related coma and reacts to language, said the Berlin Charite hospital.
The Kremlin has described attempts to blame the Russian state for the poisoning as “absurd” and declared that it wanted to know what happened.
Western politicians said the incident was likely ordered by the state and urged Moscow to prove its lack of involvement.
Navalny’s staff believe the use of Novichok shows that only the Russian state could be responsible.
The case has sparked international calls for Russia to conduct transparent investigations or risk sanctions, but the country has not launched any criminal investigations.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Russia had refused “if other countries tell us which legal proceedings we should initiate and when”.
He insisted that Russia “de facto” investigates the incident, but cannot open criminal proceedings “on the basis of tests by the German side, particularly in German military laboratories”.
The Russian authorities want to question Navalny in his Berlin hospital with the Siberian traffic police, who have tracked Navalny’s movements, and say on Friday that Russia will prepare a request for its officers and an “expert” to shadow German investigators.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)