World Russia plays hardball on Alexey Navalny poisoning
Navalny's team says nerve agent used to poison him found on hotel room bottle
Traces of the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny were found on a bottle in his hotel room in Siberia, his team said. The discovery suggests that Navalny was poisoned before he left the hotel and not at the airport, where they initially suspected he might have ingested the poison through a cup of tea.
The Kremlin is challenging the U.S. and Europe to live up to their words and retaliate over the poisoning of Alexey Navalny. Vladimir Putin is gambling that European Union business interests and U.S. political interests will obstruct such action.
An investigative journalist and political dissident, Navalny was attacked with a highly concentrated Novichok-class nerve agent on Aug. 20 as he traveled in Siberia. After an inexcusable delay ordered by the Kremlin, Navalny was finally transported to a German hospital where he is now recuperating.
New info emerges on poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny
Associates of Vladimir Putin's biggest critic say he was likely poisoned with Novichok by way of a water bottle in his hotel room.Justice Department investigation into FBI's Russia probe may be nearing end
As, the overwhelming evidence points to Putin's direct culpability in Navalny's poisoning. Only Putin could have authorized Novichok's use against Navalny, and only the big three Russian intelligence services; the GRU, SVR, and FSB have access to that nerve agent. Regardless, it's clear that the Kremlin is confident that the European Union and U.S. won't follow through on their demands for a serious Russian investigation into Navalny's incident.
Evincing this confidence, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday teased the German government. "We hope that all the same the partners will understand the futility of talking with us," Lavrov continued, "from the position of a certain supreme being who does not even bother to answer legal questions based on international conventions." This is Lavrov at his most arrogant and disdainful, amused at what he perceives as an unwillingness by the west to hold Putin's government to account. But Lavrov has some reason to be confident. The Russians recognize European business sentiments are now firmly in favor of relaxing sanctions that were imposed on Russia following its 2014 seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. Certainly, they are opposed to new sanctions. At the same time, Putin is aware that President Trump wants to maintain a degree of cordiality in relations in anticipation of nuclear arms talks next year.
Russia, Following Skripal Playbook, Sows Conspiracy Theory about German Intelligence over Navalny
State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said foreign operators such as German intelligence agents may have poisoned the Kremlin critic.State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin linked the case of Navalny, who is being treated at the Charité hospital in Berlin, with the crisis in Belarus where Alexander Lukashenko faces a wave of discontent with protests following his disputed election victory.
Regardless of the motives for tolerating this assassination attempt, an accounting must occur.
While Navalny is a Russian citizen who was attacked on Russian soil, the use of chemical weapons such as Novichok is explicitly illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention. Russia is a signatory to that convention. Considering the capacity of chemical weapons to cause immense suffering and great societal harm, it is in American and European interests to establish a deterrent principle against their use. This is why, for example, Trump was right to correct President Obama's mistake and hold Bashar Assad responsible for his use of nerve agents against his own people (even if Trump now, in light of ongoing attacks, appears to have forgotten about the issue).
Lavrov's derision should be proved as undue. The U.S. and European Union should band together to deliver a message of rebuke that will reverberate throughout the Kremlin. Namely, by extinguishing Putin's.
Trump sidesteps question about poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny: 'We'll talk about that at another time'
World leaders condemned Russia following the incident. Former Vice President Joe Biden also slammed the Kremlin, blaming the Russian government for the poisoning.Trump, Biden battle for Midwest voters
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Putin Tried to Poison Me, Says Alexei Navalny, as Kremlin Accuses Him of Working with CIA .
The Russian opposition campaigner told Der Spiegel Vladimir Putin was behind his Novichok attack, which the Kremlin has dismissed.The anti-corruption campaigner spent 16 days in a coma after he fell ill on a flight on August 20. He had been transferred from a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk to Charité hospital in Berlin. He is now recovering in the German capital.