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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

EU urges Russia to probe suspected poisoning of opposition leader Navalny

25.08.2020 09:30
The European Union has called on Russia to investigate the suspected poisoning of opposition activist Alexei Navalny and hold those responsible to account after doctors found indications of a toxic substance in his body.
Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellPhoto: PAP/EPA/FRANCOIS LENOIR

Medical tests indicate that Navalny, a Russian opposition leader who is being treated in a Berlin hospital after losing consciousness on a plane last week, had been poisoned, German doctors said on Monday.

In response to the news, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that the European Union "strongly condemns what seems to be an attempt on Mr Navalny’s life."

He added that it was "imperative that the Russian authorities initiate an independent and transparent investigation on the poisoning of Mr Navalny without delay."

"The Russian people, as well as the international community, are demanding the facts behind Mr Navalny’s poisoning," Borrell also said.

“Those responsible must be held to account,” he stated.

Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was flown to Germany for treatment on Saturday after he collapsed on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow two days earlier.

Berlin's Charite Hospital said on Monday that a team of doctors had examined Navalny in detail after his arrival, the Reuters news agency reported.

"The clinical findings indicate poisoning by a substance from the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors," the hospital said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

It added that the specific substance was not yet known, but long-term effects, especially to the nervous system, could not be ruled out.

Policemen walk in front of Charite Hospital where Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny is receiving treatment in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, August 24, 2020. Policemen walk in front of Charite Hospital where Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny is receiving treatment in Berlin, Germany, on Monday, August 24, 2020. Photo: EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

Meanwhile, doctors at the Siberian hospital that first treated Navalny said earlier that day they had saved his life but they had not found traces of poison in his system, Reuters also reported.

Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption activist, has been repeatedly detained in Russia in recent years and served several prison terms for leading anti-Kremlin protests.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, eeas.europa.eu