Navalny poisoning: Russia denies developing nerve-agent Novichok

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Sep 24, 2020, 05.10 PM(IST)

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny Photograph:( Reuters )

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German chemical weapons experts have determined that Alexei Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. Independent tests carried out in Sweden and France have yielded the same.

Spokesperson of Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that neither Soviet Union nor Russia had developed or produced Novichok. The nerve agent was used to poison Alexei Navalny, political opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zakharova said that western countries had launched a "massive disinformation campaign" surrounding Navalny's poisoning. She also said that that there was no evidence of Russian involvement in Navalny's poisoning.

Alexei Navalny has now been discharged from hospital in Germany after more than a month's treatment for poisoning. Doctors have said that he may make a "full recovery". Navalny was kept in an induced coma for more than two weeks as he received treatment. His team has accused Kremlin of being behind the poisoning. 

German chemical weapons experts have determined that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. Independent tests carried out in Sweden and France have yielded the same.

Kremlin has repeatedly denied charges that it was behind Alexei Navalny's poisoning. On Wednesday, Kremlin said that Navalny was free to return to Russia.

"As regards his returning to Moscow, like any other Russian citizen, he is free to do so at any moment," Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman said, as reported by Russian news outlets.

Also Read | Russia says poisoned opposition leader Navalny is 'free' to return

On September 15, Navalny's Spokesperson Kira Yarmysh confirmed that Navalny will return to Russia. "I'll confirm again to everyone: no other options were ever considered”, he said.

Meanwhile, Russia is still claiming that Navalny left Russia with no traces of poison in his body. Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergei Naryshkin said, "It is a fact that the moment Alexei Navalny left Russian territory there were no toxins in his system”.

Alexei Navalny was poisoned on August 20 before he took a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. He was kept under the care of Russian doctors before being flown to Germany for further treatment.