Paris: France said Tuesday that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, hospitalized in Germany after allegedly being poisoned in Siberia, had been the victim of a “criminal act” and urged Moscow to conduct a swift investigation.
“France expresses its deep concern at this criminal act perpetrated against a major figure in Russian political life,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
He called on Russia to “conduct a swift and transparent investigation which will establish the circumstances in which this act was committed.”
“Those responsible for this act must be identified and brought to justice,” the statement added.
Navalny, 44, who is one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, is being treated at Charité Hospital in Berlin after falling ill on a flight to Siberia last Thursday.
His supporters claim that Navalny was poisoned by something in his cup of tea at a Siberian airport before boarding a flight to Moscow and pointing fingers at Putin.
The German clinic said Monday that clinical tests “indicate intoxication with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors”, substances which are used in nerve agents as well as certain drugs and insecticides.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian doctors diagnosed Navalny’s condition the same way German doctors did, but were unsure what caused it.
France under President Emmanuel Macron has pursued a policy of dialogue with Russia, even on issues where it disagrees, a position which has at times put it at odds with EU allies.
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