“It’s interesting that everyone always mentions Russia… but I think China is probably at this point a nation that you should be talking about a lot more than Russia.”This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed that tests carried out in a military laboratory had “unequivocally identified” that the Kremlin critic had been poisoned with the nerve agent novichok and called the case an “attempt to murder”.
NATO on Friday condemned the attack as “horrific” and called for those responsible to be brought to justice. “Time and time again we have seen criticism of the [Vladimir Putin] regime attacked and threatened. Some were killed, ”said spokesman Piers Cazelet.
Russia has so far not opened a criminal investigation and said there is no evidence of a crime yet. On Friday, he continued to come up with alternative theories as to why Navalny fell ill two weeks ago, ranging from stress, a diet or a “simple lack of breakfast”.
Trump has not taken as strong a stance as the State Department, which earlier Friday expressed grave concern over the discovery that Navalny had been poisoned.
At a meeting in Washington earlier on Friday, Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Biegun told Russian Ambassador Anatoliy Antonov that Moscow’s use of the chemical weapon would be a flagrant violation of its obligations under the chemical weapons convention.
“The deputy secretary urged Russia to cooperate fully with the international community’s investigation into this attack,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
Navalny is President Vladimir Putin’s most popular and prominent opponent, and Germany’s announcement this week that he has been poisoned by a nerve agent has raised the possibility of further Western sanctions against Moscow.
Reuters contributed to this report