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6 Oct, 2021 08:37

America & 44 other countries demand urgent answers from Moscow over ‘attempted assassination’ of jailed opposition figure Navalny

America & 44 other countries demand urgent answers from Moscow over ‘attempted assassination’ of jailed opposition figure Navalny

The United States and 44 other countries have submitted a list of questions to Moscow asking for details about the alleged poisoning of now-jailed Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, the State Department revealed on Tuesday.

The American delegation presented the questions at The Hague to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a body that regulates the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The US and Russia are both signatories to the agreement.

“The United States and many in the international community have long sought clarity on Russia’s attempted assassination of Mr. Navalny with a chemical weapon on August 20, 2020,” the published statement from the US State Department says.

“Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and anyone who uses them should be identified and held to account,” it continued, accusing Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents of being behind the poisoning.

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In August last year, Navalny fell ill on a flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk. After a forced emergency landing in Omsk, he was taken to hospital. A few days later, after requests from his family, he was flown to Germany, where he was treated in Berlin’s Charite Clinic.

According to the doctors who treated him in Germany, Navalny was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, and many Western nations have accused the Russian state of being directly behind the alleged poisoning.

However, both Russian officials and the medical professionals who treated the opposition figure in Omsk have stressed that no poisonous substances were detected in Navalny’s system before he was taken to Berlin.

Following the State Department’s delivery of questions to The Hague, the Russian Embassy in Washington released a statement denying the allegations, calling it “yet another unfounded accusation.”

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“The so-called ‘Navalny case’ from the very first hours went hand-in-hand with an aggressive propaganda campaign waged by Western and affiliated Russian media with the general thesis based on unfounded allegation of ‘poisoning’ of the blogger,” the embassy said, claiming Russia is committed to its obligations under the CWC.

At the end of his convalescence, Navalny returned to Russia. He was arrested at passport control in Moscow and is currently serving a two-year and eight-month jail term for breaking the conditions of a suspended sentence handed to him in 2014, when he was found guilty of embezzling 30 million rubles ($400,000) from two companies, including the French cosmetics brand Yves Rocher.

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