Chemical-Weapons Body Confirms Novichok Found In Alexey Navalny Samples

Experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that the banned nerve agent Novichok was found in samples taken from poisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, the U.K.’s envoy to the body said on Twitter Tuesday.

“These results constitute a matter of grave concern,” OPCW Director-General Fernando Arias said in a website statement.

The finding could lead European countries to impose sanctions on Russia for violating the treaty banning the use of such weapons, German officials have said.

@UK_OPCW

#Germany ‘OPCW technical analysis confirms that traces of nerve agent from Novichok group were found in bio samples’. #EC95 #Navalny4:04 PM · Oct 6, 2020

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Navalny, known for his anti-Kremlin activism, was hospitalized in August in Siberia and later sent to Berlin for treatment. German specialists found traces of Novichok, a category of nerve agents first developed by the Soviet Union, in samples taken from him.

Read more: Putin, Poison and the Importance of Alexey Navalny: QuickTake

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the Russian government to conduct a full investigation, saying it appeared Navalny had been targeted for his political views. The case has led to a deep chill in relations with Moscow. Merkel hasn’t ruled out the possibility that sanctions might affect Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline from Russia that’s been a key Kremlin priority.

@UK_OPCW

A banned chemical weapon has been used against a Russian citizen on Russian territory. Russia must uphold its obligations under the #CWC and explain what happened3:50 PM · Oct 6, 2020

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Moscow says it has no evidence that Navalny was poisoned and officials have called the case a set-up by western security services, accusing the opposition leader of taking instructions from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Navalny has been released from the hospital and publicly blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the attack. The Kremlin called that charge “insulting.”

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