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World Putin's attempt to explain away the poisoning of Alexei Navalny to France failed badly and helped unite Europe against him, intelligence sources say

11:20  05 october  2020
11:20  05 october  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

Alexeï Navalny's recovery will take "a lot of time"

 Alexeï Navalny's recovery will take © HANDOUT / AFP Alexeï Navalny at the Charité hospital in Berlin, September 19, 2020. Released on Tuesday from the Berlin hospital where he had been treated since one month, the Russian opponent will begin rehabilitation. But his recovery will be long, warns his spokesperson. The recovery of Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny , victim according to three laboratories of poisoning with a nerve agent , will still take a long time, said his spokesperson, citing at least weeks of care in Germany .

An attempt by Vladimir Putin to explain how Alexei Navalny was poisoned in Russia in a call with France went down so badly that it seriously set back his relations with Europe , intelligence sources have told Insider.

Russian opposition figure Navalny , who has been discharged from the Charité hospital in Berlin where he was treated after an alleged poisoning , claimed in an interview with Der Spiegel that Putin "was behind the crime".

Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron sitting on a bench: Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron at the Bregancon fortress, southern France, on August 19, 2019. Gerard Julien/Pool via Reuters © Gerard Julien/Pool via Reuters Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron at the Bregancon fortress, southern France, on August 19, 2019. Gerard Julien/Pool via Reuters
  • Vladimir Putin last week called France's Emmanuel Macron in the hope of explaining the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, French media reported.
  • According to Insider sources briefed on the call, it was a disaster.
  • Putin is said to have claimed to Macron that Navalny may have poisoned himself to make Russia look bad.
  • Macron is said to have considered the claim insultingly implausible; so much so that it could materially harm European-Russian relations.
  • Two sources told Insider that Macron is now far more willing to imperil the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project linking Russia with Europe.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An attempt by Vladimir Putin to explain how Alexei Navalny was poisoned in Russia in a call with France went down so badly that it seriously set back his relations with Europe, intelligence sources have told Insider.

Putin Tried to Poison Me, Says Alexei Navalny, as Kremlin Accuses Him of Working with CIA

  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.

Police detain a supporter of Alexei Navalny in front of the federal security service building on Thursday. “I hope that he can recover and naturally whether it be in France or in Germany he can receive from us all the help and medical support needed,” Merkel said in a joint news conference with

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested Alexei Navalny poisoned himself with a Soviet-era nerve agent Putin claims Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny poisoned himself. The newspaper also reported, citing unnamed sources , that Putin referred to his critic as an “internet troublemaker

According to French media, Putin spoke with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, last week about Navalny, who was poisoned with the novichok nerve agent in late August, and was evacuated to Europe for treatment.

During the call, Putin is said to have suggested to Macron that Navalny may have poisoned himself in an elaborate attempt to discredit Russia.

Intelligence sources have characterized the explanation as so inept and insulting that it severely set back the already-strained relations between Russian and the nations of Europe.

A French security official, who asked for anonymity as he does not have permission to speak on the record, said that the exchange outraged Macron, who is usually wary of directly confronting Russia.

Navalny demands his clothes back from Russian authorities, says it's 'vital evidence'

  Navalny demands his clothes back from Russian authorities, says it's 'vital evidence' Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who is currently recovering from a near-fatal suspected poisoning, has demanded that Russian authorities return the clothes he wore on the day he fell ill on a plane from Siberia to Moscow.Navalny is currently being treated at Berlin's Charite Hospital, after becoming gravely unwell on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow a month ago.

The condition of leading Putin critic Alexei Navalny has improved, German doctors treating him say . Doctors treating Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny say he is out of an induced coma and his Russian officials initially refused to allow Mr Navalny to be transferred abroad for medical

Mr Putin ' s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that the Kremlin would help move Mr Navalny abroad if necessary and wished him a "speedy recovery". The EU called for Mr Navalny to be "safely and speedily transferred abroad" and urged a "swift, independent, transparent investigation"

Alexei Navalny et al. sitting in a room: Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his family members pose for a picture at Charite hospital in Berlin, Germany. Reuters © Reuters Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his family members pose for a picture at Charite hospital in Berlin, Germany. Reuters

"There is cynicism from European leaders on Putin when it comes to these events," said the official.

"But Macron has a huge ego and considers himself someone that you cannot bulls--t. He expected to be told that it was some internal issue, potentially some illegal operation by an underling that is being investigated, perhaps suggesting the possibility some Chechens [did it] without his knowledge or approval."

The source describes past conversations as "unsatisfactory but just plausible enough to make it more difficult to confront him."

"Macron got on the call expecting this typical behavior and instead he's fed total nonsense about Navalny giving himself a deadly agent only found in the most secure Russian military stockpiles.

Navalny Poisoned Before Leaving Hotel in Siberia, Allies Say

  Navalny Poisoned Before Leaving Hotel in Siberia, Allies Say Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned before he left his hotel in the Siberian city of Tomsk to catch a flight to Moscow, his allies said on Instagram. © Bloomberg Alexey Navalny, Russian opposition leader, attends a hearing at the Simonovsky District Court in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. Navalny is serving 30 days in prison for urging supporters to join an unsanctioned protest last month. Navalny fell victim last month to what German doctors later identified as poisoning by the military nerve agent Novichok.

They claimed that Navalny was poisoned by a substance from the ‘Novichok’ group – a cluster of deadly Moscow also said requested data on Navalny ’ s case from Berlin while insisting it was ready to However, Germany has so far failed to provide any data to Russia, according to Russian officials.

Alexei Navalny is still in an induced coma in Berlin’s Charité hospital. Photograph: Pavel Golovkin/AP. The prosecutor general’s office said it saw no basis to open an inquiry after a preliminary investigation. Vladimir Putin ’ s press spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said there was little

"We understand that silly, confusing and often contradictory messages like these are how Putin handles things domestically — but to the president of France?"

"He's furious," said the French official. "He will make his own decisions on how to handle this but the consequences he is threatening could become much stronger support for [Angela] Merkel taking action on Nord Stream if that's how the German's decide to proceed."

"Macron's view is you cannot lie to the president of France as if he is some Russian peasant."

The source referred to Nord Stream 2, an undersea gas pipeline which aims to link Russia with Germany. Political tensions between Russia and the West have repeatedly threatened to derail it.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has come under intense pressure to use Nord Stream 2 as leverage to extract answers from Russia.

Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin are posing for a picture: Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russian, in January 2020. Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images © Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Russian, in January 2020. Kremlin Press Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

German security officials refused to comment on the situation when asked by Insider.

Navalny team says nerve agent found on Russian hotel room water bottle

  Navalny team says nerve agent found on Russian hotel room water bottle Navalny team says nerve agent found on Russian hotel room water bottleMOSCOW (Reuters) - The nerve agent used to poison Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detected on an empty water bottle from his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk, suggesting he was poisoned there and not at the airport as first thought, his team said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations said that at this point it is not in a position to comment on Alexei Navalny ' s alleged poisoning . German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Berlin has been treating the Navalny case as " attempted murder by poisoning ," and is waiting for Russia to explain its

Alexei Navalny is a name President Putin refuses to say out loud. It' s an attempt to diminish his political significance, but the endless prosecutions, police detentions and giant fines Mr Navalny ' s faced over the years tell a different story about his impact. He' s certainly annoyed a lot of people, from those

But a central European counter-intelligence official who works closely with Germany on Russian issues said that he believes Europe may see no alternative but to act.

The source also spoke anonymously as he is not authorized to do so publicly.

The official said: "Macron and Merkel have plenty to occupy themselves with politically right now and both find themselves angry that they've been put in this position by Putin and even angrier that he is handling it with such disdain for them."

"Blaming Germany and Navalny for removing evidence infuriated Merkel and suggesting Navalny did it himself probably gave Macron an aneurysm."

"But my sense from talking with German colleagues is that the US election matters figures into everyone's calculations quite strongly."

"A strong, united coalition of Germany, France and other EU members can confront Putin, but it's all much stronger and more effective if the President of the United States is a committed participant," said the source.

"There's currently little confidence in the US as a partner in such an effort but that could change after the election."

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© Biju BORO / AFP Tea pickers joined farmers in protesting the liberalization of the sale of fruits and vegetables. The strike began this Friday, October 9 to demand wage increases. These workers joined the farmers, who have been protesting for two weeks now against the new selling prices for fruit and vegetables. With our correspondent in Bangalore, Côme Bastin The State of Assam produces nearly 50% of India's tea, and it is found on many tables around the world.

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