One of the most prominent critics of the Russian President Vladimir Putin was poisoned using a rare nerve agent of the Soviet Era called Novichok. The victim, namely Alexei Navalny, is currently undergoing treatment in Berlin’s Charitê hospital.
The tests were carried out in a German Laboratory. According to a German spokesperson from the government, the tests are without a doubt correct. Moreover, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that Alexia “is the victim of a crime that intended to silence him.” She also said that this was an “attempted murder.”
The former KGB spy Sergei Skripal along with his daughter, Yulia, was also poisoned using the same drug in March 2018. The attack happened in Britain, and the blame was placed on Moscow for it by the Western Nations. The UK also charged two Russian men who were later determined to be GRU ( the Russian military intelligence service) agents by U.K.’s security and intelligence agencies.
After four months, two residents came into contact with the same Novichok nerve agent. Unfortunately, one of them died. The UK authorities said that they were likely to be exposed to the poison during the March attack.
This Novichok agent is “developed in a top-secret laboratory in Moscow and was once a closely held secret of the Russian government,” according to NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel. This chemical weapon is thought to be developed during the final years of the Cold War to create fatal agents that can’t be detected easily.
One of Merkel’s spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, also said that Germany is against this attack on Navalny and demands an explanation from the Russian Government.
Navalny is an opposition figure that has investigated many important officials regarding corruption and abuse of their powers.
Kira Yarmysh, who is Navalny’s spokesperson, said that she last saw him have a cup of tea at the Tomsk Airport. Navalny then proceeded to board on his flight to Moscow during which he fell severely ill, cause the pilot to make an emergency landing.
He then had to be airlifted to Berlin’s Charitê hospital from Siberia. Currently, he is in the state of an induced medical coma. However, German doctors claim that he is out of danger and stable now.
Navalny’s treatment in Siberia
During Navalny’s treatment in Siberia, the doctors said that he was sick due to a blood sugar imbalance and that there was no poison in his system.
The Russian officials have dismissed Navalny’s poisoning as a mere accusation. A week ago his situation seemed to have no grounds for conducting a criminal investigation according to the Kremlin as told by Dmitry Peskon, Putin’s press secretary. However, the Kremlim, one day later, said that the Russian President “expressed interest in a thorough and impartial investigation of all the circumstances of the incident.”
Peskov has also said that Russia is all set to exchange information regarding the case after the identification of the poison by Germany. He also mentioned that the drug wasn’t found by the Siberian doctors. Moreover, he said that the German authorities need to share their information before the Kremlin responds to these accusations.
The government is hoping that Navalny makes a full recovery according to Merkel. He is being treated in an ICU on a ventilator as reported by the Charitê hospital on Wednesday. They also suspect recovery to take long and aren’t aware of the long term side effects of such severe poisoning. Germany will notify the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Organization, NATO and European Union regarding this incident and discuss “an appropriate and joint reaction,” according to Merkel.