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Germany claims French & Swedish labs ‘confirmed’ Navalny’s Novichok poisoning, as Macron labels incident ‘attempted murder’

Germany claims French & Swedish labs ‘confirmed’ Navalny’s Novichok poisoning, as Macron labels incident ‘attempted murder’
The German government claimed on Monday that the presence of a substance from the Novichok family of poisons in the system of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has now been confirmed by three different laboratories.

Two of them are in its European Union partners France and Sweden, according to Berlin, which says it has brought in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to analyze the samples. Officials renewed their demand that Russia explain the incident.

“The federal government involved the OPCW in the analysis of evidence from the Navalny case. The OPCW took samples from Navalny and took the necessary steps to study them in its laboratories,” a German government statement read. “The federal government has also asked its European partners France and Sweden to conduct an independent study. The results of these tests are now available and confirm the German evidence. Independent of the ongoing OPCW investigations, three laboratories have now independently demonstrated the presence of a nerve agent from the Novichok group as the cause of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning.”

The head of German intelligence, Bruno Kahl, said last week that the poison used was stronger than previously known. This raised eyebrows in Russia, given that previous variants of Novichok were supposed to have been devastatingly lethal, and Navalny has survived his alleged poisoning.

“We again call on Russia to explain what happened. We are in close contact with our European partners regarding further steps,” the statement continued.

Meanwhile, after the French tests, French state-run news wire AFP reported that President Emmanuel Macron urged his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to urgently shed light on what he called the “attempted murder” of Navalny.
On September 9, the German Ministry of Defense announced that samples taken from Navalny had been transferred to the OPCW. Moscow has complained about a lack of cooperation from Berlin.

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On August 20, a plane carrying Navalny made an emergency landing in Omsk after he suddenly became unwell on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. The anti-corruption activist was taken to hospital, placed in an induced coma, and put on a ventilator. On August 22, he was flown to Germany for treatment.

German doctors said on August 24 that they had found signs of Navalny having been poisoned with substances from the cholinesterase inhibitors group. They added that there was no threat to his life, but there was a possibility there would be long-term effects on his nervous system.

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