The German government has said Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition activist who is being treated in a Berlin hospital after collapsing in Siberia last month, was poisoned by the chemical nerve agent novichok.
In a statement, the government said it “strongly condemned” the poisoning and demanded the Kremlin provide an explanation “as a matter of urgency”.
It said the German foreign ministry would inform the Russian ambassador about the results of the investigation.
The statement said Charite, the university hospital where Mr Navalny has been treated since August 22, had asked a specialist laboratory of the Bundeswehr to carry out a toxicological examination of samples taken from Mr Navalny.
As a result, it was “proven beyond doubt” that he had been poisoned with a “chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group”, the statement said.
The government said it would inform its partners in the EU and Nato about the results of the examination. “It will consult with its partners. about an appropriate joint reaction,” it said.
It also said that the government would contact the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Victim of crime – German Chancellor Angela Merkel
In a press conference Wednesday German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the test results proved that Navalny had been the victim of a crime.
“Alexey Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group,” Merkel 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.”
Merkel added: “There are very serious questions now which only the Russian government can and must answer. The fate of Alexey Navalny has received a lot of attention worldwide. The world will wait for an answer.”
Outrageous that a chemical weapon was used – Boris Johnson
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his reaction -“It’s outrageous that a chemical weapon was used against Alexey Navalny. We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of Novichok in the UK. The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done.”
Russia ‘must tell the truth’ about Putin critic’s poisoning – Dominic Raab
Britain’s foreign secretary has said Russia “must tell the truth” about the poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny with novichok.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday that the Kremlin had not received any information from Germany that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
Dominic Raab said it is “absolutely unacceptable” a banned chemical weapon has been used again by Russia.
Mr Raab said: “I am deeply concerned that Alexei Navalny was poisoned by novichok, a nerve agent previously used with lethal effect in the UK.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that this banned chemical weapon has been used again, and once more we see violence directed against a leading Russian opposition figure.
“The Russian government has a clear case to answer. It must tell the truth about what happened to Mr Navalny.
“We will work closely with Germany, our allies and international partners to demonstrate that there are consequences for using banned chemical weapons anywhere in the world.”
The White House said that US was ‘deeply troubled’ by ‘reprehensible’ Navalny poisoning.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it was waiting for a German response to a request from the Russian Prosecutor General regarding Navalny’s treatment and diagnosis, TASS reported.