The German government has urged the Kremlin to explain itself after they find traces of Novichok nerve agent used to poison the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Navalny reportedly fell ill on board a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow, last month. He is currently being treated at the Charité Hospital, Berlin. A German spokesperson said that they have evidence “without a doubt” of their claims of poisoning. Novichok is the same nerve agent that was used to poison Sergei Skripal, a former KGB spy, and his daughter Yulia in 2018.
In the statement released by the government, spokesperson Steffen Seibert said that it was “startling” that “Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia.” The statement further added that “The federal government condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms. The Russian government is urged to explain itself regarding the incident.”
In a press conference on Wednesday, the German Chancellor Angela Markel also condemned this act and said, “This poison can be detected without a doubt in the samples. This means that Alexey Navalny is definitely the victim of a crime. They wanted to silence him, and I condemn this in the strongest possible terms, also on behalf of the entire Federal Government.”
“Outrageous,” says Johnson on the attack
In the Skripal case in 2018, the British government accused the Kremlin of organizing the attacks and also expelled dozens of Russian diplomats from the country. Similarly, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the Russian government must now explain what happened. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said that it is unacceptable what happened with Navalny. Raab further said, “The Russian government has a clear case to answer.”
Navalny in the intensive care unit
Navalny, 44, is a prominent critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. There is video footage from the plane, which shows a man emerging in apparent great pain. The flight made an emergency landing in Omsk and Navalny was transferred to hospital. He is said to be in a “serious” condition, and the doctors treating him are in close contact with his wife. The statement further added that the critic’s condition is improving and the symptoms of poisoning are declining.
- ‘Novichok’ is a class of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union, and it can be absorbed through the skin as liquid, vapour, or powder. It can take minutes or hours to act.
- This development raises serious questions over the government policies of Putin and how he is working on shutting every voice of opposition.
- One must also note that this revelation comes within a month of the United States intelligence officers declaring that Russia wants to interfere in the 2020 Presidential elections.
- Facebook and Twitter recently disrupted a disinformation operation launched by the Kremlin-backed group which reportedly interfered with the 2016 elections.
- These are some severe signs of the growing dictatorship and fascist tendencies in Russia.