French, Swedish labs confirm Alexei Navalny poisoned with Novichok: Germany

Specialized labs in France and Sweden have independently confirmed that Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-style nerve agent Novichok, the German government said Monday.

Military doctors at Berlin’s Charite hospital — to which the Kremlin critic was evacuated after taking ill on a flight over Siberia last month — were the first to say he had been poisoned with Novichok.

Navalny awoke from a coma last week and is now able to speak, the German magazine Der Spiegel has reported.

The 44-year-old had been in an induced coma since he was flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment two days after he became sick on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow.

Aides believe he sipped tea laced with poison at the airport, and his family has always pointed the finger at the Kremlin.

German chemical weapons experts have said tests proved “without doubt” that he was poisoned with Novichok.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said samples taken from Navalny had also been sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague for tests in their labs, Reuters reported.

“Independently of the OPCW’s investigations, three laboratories have now independently identified a military nerve agent as the cause of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning,” Seibert said.

He said Germany had asked France and Sweden for an “independent review” of the German findings using new samples from the opposition leader.

Moscow has insisted it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

But Seibert on Monday renewed Germany’s demand that “Russia explain itself” on the matter, adding that “we are in close consultation with our European partners on further steps.”

The Kremlin has prodded Germany to share the evidence that led it to conclude “without doubt” that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the Soviet-era agent that British authorities said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, in 2018.

With Post Wires

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