Updated Sep 2, 2020 - World

Putin foe Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, German government says

Navalny in 2019. Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS via Getty Images

Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist, was attacked with the nerve agent Novichok — a calling card of the Russian security services — Germany's government announced on Wednesday.

The state of play: Navalny remains in a coma in a Berlin hospital two weeks after falling ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. He is the latest in a string of Kremlin critics to have been poisoned, though Russia denies that any crime took place.

Flashback: Novichok is the same agent used in the attempted assassination in 2018 of Sergei Skripal, a Russian former double agent who had relocated to the U.K.

What they're saying: The German government said in a statement that a military laboratory found "unequivoical evidence" that a nerve agent from the Novichok family had been used on Navalny, and urged the Russian government to explain itself.

  • Germany added that it would inform its partners in the EU and NATO — as well as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — about the results of the investigation and discuss "an appropriate joint reaction."

The latest: Chancellor Angela Merkel made a televised statement denouncing the attempt to "silence" Navalny as "a crime against the basic values and basic rights we stand for." She said the Russian government had been informed of the findings.

"We expect the Russian government to make a declaration vis-a-vis the incident. Of course it raises severe questions that only the Russian government can answer and will have to answer."
— Angela Merkel
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