The global chemical weapons watchdog said Tuesday that samples from Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who claims he was poisoned by the Kremlin, contained a Novichok-type nerve agent.
The results of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirm similar results from a military laboratory in Germany, where Navalny was hospitalized, and a laboratory in France and Sweden.
OPCW chief Fernando Arias “felt these results were cause for great concern,” the Hague-based watchdog said in a statement.
The OPCW said the blood and urine samples taken by the watchdog’s experts from Navalny, Germany, showed signs of a “cholinesterase inhibitor” – a type of nerve agent.
The traces “have similar structural properties to the toxic chemicals” found in two Novichok chemicals that were banned by the Hague-based agency in 2019.
However, the specific type of Novichok found in the Navalny samples was not itself one of those banned on the banned list last year, the OPCW added.
Germany had officially requested “technical assistance” from the OPCW, which Member States are entitled to if they believe there has been a chemical weapons incident.
OPCW chief Arias added that “the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is reprehensible and is totally contrary to the legal norms set by the international community”.
He said it was “now important” for (OPCW member states) to “maintain the standard that they followed more than 25 years ago” when they signed the UN Chemical Weapons Convention.
Navalny was medically evacuated to Germany at the end of August after falling ill on an airplane and spending several days in a Siberian hospital.
Tests by a German military laboratory revealed that he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok designed by the Soviet Union.
Russia insists that its medical tests did not find any poison in Navalny’s system and did not accept the German explanations as it needs more evidence.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)