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Alexei Navalny Poisoning Case Now Involves Global Chemical Weapons Watchdog

September 17, 2020, 05.13 PM

THE HAGUE, – The global chemical weapons watchdog has been brought in to assist with the Alexei Navalny case to determine if he was poisoned with Novichok.

Germany formally requested “technical assistance” from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) over the alleged poisoning of Alexei Navalny.

The Hague-based organization sent experts to Berlin and collected samples from the Russian opposition leader. Results of tests for the Soviet-style nerve agent were “forthcoming”.

The West says Kremlin critic Navalny, who is being treated in a Berlin hospital, was poisoned with the nerve agent and has pushed Russia to shed light on the incident. Moscow denies all involvement.

Read also: Alexei Navalny Novichok Finding Sparks Outrage among Western Leaders

"A team of experts from the (OPCW's) Technical Secretariat independently collected biomedical samples from Mr Navalny for analysis by OPCW designated laboratories," the OPCW said in a statement.

"Results of this analysis are forthcoming and will be shared with the German authorities."

OPCW chief Fernando Arias earlier this month voiced "grave concern" over the Navalny incident.

Read also: Alexei Navalny Able to Talk, Police Protection Stepped Up

Germany said on Monday that labs in France and Sweden had confirmed its own finding that the banned weapons-grade substance was used, but that it was awaiting the OPCW's evaluation.

The Navalny case threatens to cause fresh tensions at the toxic arms watchdog.

Germany could ask the OPCW to use its recently-acquired mandate to attribute blame for chemical attacks — powers that Russia and its allies have bitterly opposed.

Read also: Germany Urges Moscow to Ramp Up Poisoning Investigation of Alexei Navalny

Until OPCW member states voted to give the body the new powers in 2018, it was only able to say whether chemical weapons had been used, but not by whom.

Britain drafted in the OPCW for "technical assistance" after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with Novichok in the city of Salisbury in 2018, but that was before it had the new powers. 

(Writer & Editor: DK/TGB, Agence France-Presse) 


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