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10 Jul, 2021 22:22

Naive to think West will change stance on Navalny’s ‘poisoning,’ Russia's OPCW envoy tells RT after report reveals inconsistencies

Naive to think West will change stance on Navalny’s ‘poisoning,’ Russia's OPCW envoy tells RT after report reveals inconsistencies

The latest OPCW report might eventually prove that the prevailing narrative around last year's alleged poisoning of the Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny holds no water, but don't expect Western nations to admit this.

That's according to Russia’s envoy to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin. He told RT, on Saturday, that if it's confirmed that group's experts were sent to Germany almost immediately after Navalny felt unwell on a plane over Siberia last year, that would mean that the whole narrative was “orchestrated… with obvious goals,” from the very beginning.

Presented at the 97th session of the organization’s executive council earlier this week, the document states that the OPCW sent a team of experts to Berlin at Germany’s request to deal with a possible “poisoning of a Russian citizen” on August 20, 2020.

On that day, Navalny was flying from Tomsk to Moscow and fell ill while onboard. He was then rushed to a hospital in Omsk, another Siberian city, following an emergency landing. However, doctors there found no traces of any particular chemical agent in his body and no evidence to confirm any suspicion of chemical poisoning.

Also on rt.com ‘How is it even possible?’ Russia asks OPCW after report claims team was sent to Germany the same day Navalny fell ill in Siberia

Navalny was transferred to a Berlin clinic at his family’s request only two days after his initial hospitalization. It was only on August 24 that the German doctors said that the results of clinical studies indicated he had been poisoned with a cholinesterase inhibitor.

Moscow has demanded the OPCW provide a “clear explanation” for the data presented in its report. According to Shulgin, no reasonable explanation has been presented to date and the chemical watchdog has only said that it might have been “some sort of a technical failure.”

The Russian envoy to the OPCW said Moscow has “little doubt” that the information presented in the report is genuine, adding that this “could mean only one thing: this whole unsavory story holds no water.”

Shulgin, however, believes that Russia would hardly find many who would agree with such a conclusion even in light of the new information revealed in the OPCW report.

After all the leaders of a whole range of Western nations said on this issue, it would be extremely naive to expect that they would do anything to review their version of ‘poisoning’.

He also said that Moscow faced immense pressure when trying to get to the bottom of this story. Russia was denied legal due process and slapped with sanctions, he said, adding that Western nations also violated their commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention which says parties should hold bilateral consultations to resolve all disputed issues.

Berlin was quick to state Navalny was poisoned with a ‘Novichok-like’ substance – a reference to the infamous chemical agent supposedly used to poison the Russian-born British spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, in the UK in 2018 – citing the evidence obtained by the German military as well as analysis from two laboratories in France and Sweden.

Also on rt.com Moscow claims Navalny poisoning clearly an 'amateurishly staged stunt' after EU governments ignore requests for evidence

France and the UK soon joined Germany and demanded explanations from Moscow, and later called for sanctions alongside Berlin.

The top diplomats of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and the UK also told Moscow to “urgently” investigate what they called the “confirmed poisoning” of Navalny in a joint G7 statement in September 2020.

Berlin, meanwhile, has ignored at least four formal cooperation requests from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and has never presented any material evidence of Navalny’s poisoning to Moscow, according to officials. Neither did the OPCW, they insist. 

The chemical watchdog’s Technical Secretariate “de-facto torpedoed” Russia’s technical assistance request aimed at clarifying the circumstances in which some chemical agents were found in Navalny’s samples, Shulgin said.

Also on rt.com ‘Western brand’: more than 20 nations possess over 140 ‘Novichok’-type substances, Russian Foreign Ministry says

The Russian envoy to the OPCW still believes that the organization that was once “one of the most successful international structures in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation” still has lots of dedicated professionals in its ranks. They face “immense pressure” from those seeking to turn the organization into a geopolitical tool, he added.

Because of the attempts of a group of Western nations to use the OPCW to achieve political goals, there has been an erosion of trust in the organization, Shulgin claims. Russia would “take every effort” to make it a depoliticized body again and restore its credibility, he said. 

However, when it comes to the case of Navalny, Shulgin believes it's far from over since there are still a lot of "inconsistencies and blank spots" surrounding it.

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