After Navalny was transported to Germany for further medical treatment at the Charite hospital, Berlin claimed that a nerve agent from the Novichok group was found in his blood and urine samples. Germany, however, refused Russia’s request for the results of the research, saying it is a military secret.
“I claim that Putin is behind the crime and I don’t have any other versions of what happened”, Navalny told Der Spiegel during an interview that is set to be fully published later in the day.
The accusation was published just days after the magazine reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had secretly visited Navalny while he was at the Berlin hospital.
Addressing the claims, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament Vyacheslav Volodin slammed Navalny as “an indecent man”, stressing that Russian pilots and medics did everything possible to save his life, and then fulfil his family’s request for transfer immediately after ensuring he would be safe.
Previously, German authorities formally transferred data related to Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s alleged poisoning to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), claiming that Moscow has to explain the incident.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow has taken a “transparent position” on the Navalny case from the very beginning, allowing for him to be transferred to Germany for treatment at the request of his relatives, with the doctors who saved his life in Omsk openly passing on all the data they collected about Navalny’s condition and expressing willingness to continue cooperating.
However, when Russia made several requests for data on the case, also offering to establish a joint medical commission with Berlin to examine the samples, Germany did not respond.
Navalny fell gravely ill during a domestic Russian flight on 20 August and shortly thereafter his plane made an emergency landing in the Siberian city of Omsk. He was then taken to a local hospital and, according to regional doctors, he arrived just 17 minutes after landing. For the next 44 hours, Russian doctors waged an uninterrupted struggle for his life, as he went into a coma and was put on an artificial lung ventilator.
Immediately after the opposition figure fell ill, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh claimed that he might have been poisoned.
However, after conducting multiple tests, Russian medics established that no traces of poison had been found in his system, noting that he was suffering from an abrupt glucose drop.
Two days later after the doctors established he was fit for cross-border aerial transportation, he was flown to the German capital for further treatment at the Charite hospital at the behest of his family.
German medics initially said they had found traces of a substance from a group of cholinesterase inhibitors in his system, but later claimed that traces of a nerve agent from the Novichok group were detected in Navalny’s samples. Russian doctors rejected this, saying they found no signs of poisoning in the patient’s samples.