France, Sweden confirm Novichok presence in Alexei Navalny tests

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Specialist laboratories in France and Sweden have confirmed that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been poisoned by the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the German government said on Monday.A German military lab has previously confirmed the substance in its samples.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had also received samples and was taking steps to have them tested at its reference laboratories.

“Regardless of the ongoing reviews by the OPCW, three laboratories have now independently confirmed evidence of a Novichok group nerve agent as the cause of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning,” Seibert said in a report. communicated.

He said Germany had asked France and Sweden for an “independent review” of German results using new samples from Navalny.

Navalny, the most visible opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on August 20 during a domestic flight in Russia. Berlin demanded that Russia investigate the matter.

Seeking answers from Moscow

Seibert on Monday renewed Germany’s request for “Russia to explain” on the issue. He added that “we are in close consultation with our European partners on the next steps”.

The Kremlin has bristled at calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders for Russia to answer questions in the matter, denying any official involvement and accusing the West of trying to smear Moscow.

Russian authorities urged Germany to share evidence that led it to conclude “without question” that Navalny was poisoned with a military nerve agent from the Novichok group, the same class of chemical weapons from the Soviet era. which, according to the British authorities, was used on the ancient Russians. spies on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England in 2018.

Berlin rejected Moscow’s suggestions that it was dragging its heels.

WATCH September 2: Germany says tests conclude Navalny administered Novichok:

German doctors say they have proof that Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned by Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent. 1:55

Navalny was kept in an induced coma for over a week while being treated with an antidote, before hospital officials said a week ago that his condition had improved enough that he came out of it.

It is not known when the Berlin Charity Hospital will issue an update on his condition.

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