"Proof beyond doubt" that Alexei Navalny poisoned by Novichok, says NATO chief Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday condemned the “appalling assassination attempt” on Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and called on Moscow to answer questions about the poisoning to international investigators, Associated Press reports.

Navalny, a Kremlin critic and corruption investigator, fell ill during a flight to Moscow on August 20th and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk. He has been in an induced coma in a Berlin hospital since he was flown to Germany for treatment more than a week ago.

German authorities have said that tests showed that he had been poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. British authorities previously identified the Soviet-era Novichok as the poison used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018.

“There is proof beyond doubt that Mr. Navalny was poisoned using a military-grade nerve agent from the Novichok group. The use of such a weapon is horrific,” Stoltenberg said after chairing a meeting of NATO ambassadors during which Germany briefed its allies on developments.

“Any use of chemical weapons shows a total disrespect for human lives and is an unacceptable breach of international norms and rules. NATO allies agree that Russia now has serious questions it must answer,” he told reporters.

Stoltenberg said Moscow must cooperate with the international chemical weapons organisation in an “impartial, international investigation” and provide information about its Novichok program.

Those responsible for this attack must be held accountable and brought to justice. We also call on Russia to provide complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the OPCW. Time and again, we have seen opposition leaders and critics of the Russian regime attacked, and their lives threatened. Some have even been killed.

Jens Stoltenberg

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