Category Archives: East Europe & North Asia – Russia

[Russia] Navalny’s treatment in Germany could last weeks – Aide.

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Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny is likely to remain in Germany for weeks as he still requires lengthy treatment to help him recover from poisoning, his spokeswoman has said.

The 44-year-old Kremlin critic was discharged on Wednesday from a Berlin hospital after he fell violently ill in Siberia and tests found he was poisoned with Novichok nerve agent.

“Navalny’s recovery process will naturally take a long time,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in an online broadcast late Thursday.

“He is staying in Germany for now, he will undergo rehabilitation there. It’s clearly not a question of a few days and probably not a couple of weeks,” she said.

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Navalny wrote in a post on Instagram on Wednesday about the after-effects of poisoning, saying he cannot throw a ball with his left hand and is struggling to write.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures during his trial at a Moscow courthouse on August 27, 2018. A Moscow court on August 27, 2018 gave a 30-day jail sentence to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny over an unsanctioned protest earlier this year, just days before another planned political rally. / AFP PHOTO / Vasily MAXIMOV

He said he was seeing a physiotherapist every day, working to regain balance and control of his fingers, and may attend a rehabilitation centre.

He said he had asked a neuropsychologist how to “get back not only from the physical point of view but in my head too,” and was advised to read a lot, write on social media and play video games.

Yarmysh said Thursday that Russian bailiffs had frozen Navalny’s flat in Moscow and bank accounts over a court judgement ordering him and his allies to pay almost 88 million rubles ($1.1 million at the current exchange rate) to a company they targeted in an investigation.


#Newsworthy…

Novichok found ‘in or on’ my body – Navalny spills

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Monday that Western laboratories had found traces of a Novichok nerve agent in and on his body and demanded that Moscow return his clothes.

Navalny, who is recovering in Berlin’s Charite clinic, fell violently ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20. He spent two days in hospital in Russia before being airlifted to Germany.

“Two independent laboratories in France and Sweden and the Bundeswehr specialised laboratory confirmed the presence of Novichok in and on my body,” he said in his first blog post since emerging from a coma, referring to a German military lab.

He noted that Russia had still not opened an investigation and that Russian talk shows had suggested that Western intelligence officials or his own allies carried out the attack.

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“I did not expect anything else,” he wrote.

He also demanded that Russian authorities return his clothes that were removed before he was flown to Germany — “totally naked” — saying they were important evidence.

“Taking into account that Novichok was found on my body, and poisoning through physical contact is highly likely, my clothes are a very important piece of evidence,” he wrote.

“I demand my clothes be carefully packed in a plastic bag and returned to me.”

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In a separate post on Instagram, he published a picture with his wife of 20 years, Yulia, saying he remembered little of his illness but that she had helped his recovery.

“Now I definitely know from experience: love heals and brings you back to life,” he said.

“Yulia, you have saved me, and let it go down in neurobiology textbooks.”

Navalny supporters and European leaders have said that the poisoning using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, points to a state-sanctioned attack.

The Kremlin has dismissed the claims as “absurd”.


#Newsworthy..

Russians vote in 41 regions inspired by Navalny poisoning.

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Coming a year before parliamentary elections, the elections are seen as a key test of the Kremlin’s electoral machine.

Russians are voting in regional elections overshadowed by the poisoning of main opposition figure Alexey Navalny, an economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and mass protests in some parts of the country.

The elections are being held in Russia’s 41 regions where people are casting their ballots for regional governors and assemblies, as well as in four by-elections for national MPs.

Reporting from Moscow, NRM affirm on Sunday the polls are viewed as a “major test” for the ruling United Russia party and President Vladimir Putin, who have both seen their ratings drop a year before parliamentary polls.

United Russia, which currently dominates the federal parliament and many regional administrations, is the party most closely associated with Putin. The longtime president, however, is not a current member of any political party and is thus able to distance himself from unpopular measures initiated by subordinate senior officials.

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Last month, a nationwide survey by Russia’s biggest independent pollster, Levada Centre, showed that 29 percent of Russians would participate in anti-government protests if held in their area.

Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the R.Politik analysis firm, said the results of the polls will help the Kremlin determine whether United Russia needs to be reformed and if parliamentary elections should be pushed forward.

Navalny’s poisoning could also influence voters and bring about “contradictory effects”, Stanovaya told AFP news agency.

The 44-year-old, an anti-corruption crusader who is one of Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

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After he was evacuated to Berlin, German doctors said Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

His associates believe the use of the banned chemical weapon shows only the Russian state could be responsible. The Kremlin has rejected any suggestion that Russia was to blame.

‘Smart voting’
Led by Navalny, the opposition hopes to challenge Kremlin domination over Russia’s political life by promoting tactical voting, urging Russians to back the strongest candidate on the ballot to defeat the ruling party.

Navalny’s team urged Russians to vote for candidates from any party other than United Russia – Navalny had been in Siberia to promote the so-called “smart voting” when he fell ill.

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Any other candidate – “a Communist, a Liberal Democratic Party member, a Just Russia party member” – would be “better than United Russia,” Navalny’s team said in a statement on Friday, referring to Russia’s four major political parties.

“Elections can be won,” it added, pointing to the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, where tens of thousands have taken to the streets there for the past two months over the arrest of a governor who defeated an incumbent from the governing party in 2018.

With Navalny still recovering and absent from Russia’s political scene, the “smart voting” campaign he had launched may be undermined, Stanovaya said.

“On the other hand, what happened to Navalny caused a shock,” Stanovaya said, noting that some of those who did not support him in the past may now change their minds.

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In what some observers believe is another Kremlin ploy to dilute the opposition vote, candidates are also standing for four little-known new parties.

People vote during local elections in the Siberian city of Tomsk [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

‘Unite the opposition’
With United Russia facing a deep popularity crisis, elections in the country are for the first time being held over three days and some polling stations will be open-air.

Early voting began on Friday and the main polling day is on Sunday.

The controversial three-day voting scheme was first tested during a July 1 national vote on constitutional amendments that could make it possible for Putin to stay in power until 2036.

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One of the highest-profile campaigns has taken place in Novosibirsk, where the head of Navalny’s office in Russia’s third-largest city, Sergei Boiko, brought together the opposition to counter United Russia and the Communist Party.

His “Novosibirsk 2020” coalition has put forward about 30 candidates for the city legislature and campaigned with the help of volunteers from Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund.

“This is an attempt to unite the opposition, all the people who are saying ‘no’ to the current regime,” Boiko told AFP.

The case of the former Khabarovsk governor and the protest movement in Russia’s neighbour Belarus have both sparked small-scale demonstrations in solidarity in Russian cities, suggesting there is growing potential for a protest vote.


#Newsworthy…

Debate opens in Germany over Navalny’s poisoning. [Russia]

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German foreign minister’s comments on Russia-backed Nord Stream 2 pipeline suggest divisions in Berlin over project.

Germany’s support for the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 pipeline is developing a few cracks.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas over the weekend became the first member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet to link the natural-gas conduit’s fate to Russian cooperation with an inquiry into the poisoning of dissident Alexey Navalny. A lawmaker from Merkel’s party suggested suspending the project.

While there’s no sign that Merkel is about to pull the plug, the comments amplify the latest flare-up of exasperation about President Vladimir Putin in Berlin and suggest an emerging debate in Merkel’s governing coalition. The German leader has consistently backed the pipeline in the face of opposition by the U.S. and some European Union allies.

“I certainly hope that the Russians don’t force us to change our stance,” Maas told the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag. If Russia doesn’t start helping clear up what happened to Navalny “in the next few days,” Germany will “have to consult with our partners about a response,” he said.

Pressure on the Gazprom-led project increased after the German military said last week that Navalny was attacked with novichok, a Russian-developed nerve agent. The chancellery in Berlin didn’t respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

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Coalition officials have signaled that there is still little appetite to abandon the pipeline.

“Already raising or publicly invoking individual measures doesn’t help us,” said Rolf Muetzenich, caucus leader of the Social Democrats in the German parliament, in an apparent rebuttal to Maas, a fellow Social Democrat. Germany must discuss a joint response with allies, depending on Russia’s contribution, he said.

Merkel issued an uncharacteristically sharp rebuke over the novichok finding and pledged a coordinated response among NATO and EU members. At a news conference on Thursday, she didn’t repeat her demand made days earlier that the project should be finished.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the party chairwoman of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, also said any response hinges on “the behavior of the Russian side,” according to Reuters. She didn’t rule out a response involving Nord Stream.

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Roderich Kiesewetter, a senior CDU lawmaker on the lower house’s foreign affairs committee, said on Twitter that short of scrapping the project, Germany could impose a moratorium on completing the pipeline, or back the completion but halt gas transit.

Norbert Roettgen, a CDU member who chairs the committee and is running for the CDU chairmanship, said last week that Germany should drop its support.

Global Pressure
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC on Sunday that Russia has a “case to answer” over the alleged poisoning given its “track record.” While it’s too early to attribute blame, “it’s very difficult to come up with a plausible alternative explanation” other than Russia’s involvement, he said.

Russia has been linked to two previous poisonings in the U.K., with novichok suspected in the attempted murder in 2018 of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on British soil.


#Newsworthy….

“Victim of a crime” Navalny out of coma. [Russia]

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Russian opposition figure is responding to verbal stimuli and his condition has improved, German hospital says.

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who Germany says was poisoned by a weapons-grade Novichok nerve agent, is now out of a medically induced coma and being weaned off mechanical ventilation.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner and one of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a domestic flight last month and was treated in a Siberian hospital before being evacuated to Berlin.

“He is responding to verbal stimuli,” Charite hospital, where he is being treated in Berlin, said in a statement on Monday, adding that the 44-year old’s condition “has improved”.

However, the hospital said it was too early to determine the long-term effect of the poisoning.

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Germany said last week toxicology tests conducted by its armed forces found “unequivocal evidence” that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok – the substance used in a 2018 attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas then summoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Nechayev in protest and called for a full and transparent investigation.

Navalny’s associates say the use of Novichok, a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent, shows only the Russian state could be responsible, but the Kremlin fiercely denies any involvement.

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“Attempts to somehow associate Russia with what happened are unacceptable to us, they are absurd,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday.

Russian officials have accused Germany of being slow to share the findings of its investigation, despite a request from prosecutors.

“We expect information [from Germany] to be provided in the coming days,” Peskov said. “We are looking forward to it.”

Western leaders have expressed concern at what Navalny’s allies say is the first known use of chemical weapons against a high-profile opposition leader on Russian soil.

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The United Kingdom’s foreign office summoned the Russian ambassador on Monday, a spokesperson said in a statement.

Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny is seen at a rally in Moscow in February marking the fifth anniversary of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov’s murder [File: Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters]

“The foreign secretary has made it clear that it is absolutely unacceptable that a banned chemical weapon has been used, and that violence has again been directed against a leading Russian opposition figure,” it said.

“There is a case here for Russia to answer. This took place on Russian soil, against a Russian citizen. They have international obligations to uphold. This is nothing short of an attack against the rules based international system which keeps our societies safe.

“Russia needs to conduct a full, transparent criminal investigation into Mr Navalny’s poisoning. We will work with our partners … to hold the perpetrators to account.”

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Pipeline in crosshairs
Germany has warned a failure by Moscow to thoroughly investigate the incident could have serious consequences.

Maas said on Sunday Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, will discuss possible sanctions against Russia if the Kremlin does not soon provide an explanation for what happened to Navalny.

Otherwise, Germany will be compelled to “discuss a response with our allies” including “targeted” sanctions, Maas said.

He did not rule out action relating to Nord Stream 2, a 10 billion euro ($11bn) Russian-German gas pipeline nearing completion.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on Monday she was in agreement with Maas, who is a member of the junior coalition partner Social Democrats.

She too would not rule out consequences for the pipeline beneath the Baltic Sea, which is set to double Russian natural gas shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

The Navalny poisoning is the latest in a long series of assassination attempts against Kremlin critics. Navalny’s aides have said they suspect he drank a cup of spiked tea at the airport.

The charismatic Yale-educated lawyer was initially treated at a Russian hospital, where doctors said they were unable to find any toxic substances in his blood, before he was flown to Berlin for specialised treatment on August 22.


#Newsworthy…

[Russia] Navalny poisoned with Novichok – NATO Chief.

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Alliance members demand Moscow reveal Novichok programme to global chemical weapons agency as West-Russia tension brews.

The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was “proof beyond doubt” that Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent amid a widening rift between Western powers and Russia over the suspected attack on the Kremlin critic.

Stoltenberg’s comments on Friday were in line with statements by Berlin earlier in the week, with a special German military laboratory claiming to have proof a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group was used.

Navalny, 44, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight returning to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

He was later transferred to Berlin’s Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications he had been poisoned.

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He remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator, but his condition is reportedly improving.

An ambulance parks after the arrival of Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny at Charite clinic in Berlin [File: Alexander Becher/EPA-EFE]

The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.

NATO allies agreed on Friday that Russia must cooperate fully with an impartial investigation to be led by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into the poisoning of Navalny, the alliance’s chief said.

“Any use of chemical weapons shows a total disrespect for human lives, and is an unacceptable breach of international norms and rules,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

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“NATO allies agree that Russia now has serious questions it must answer, the Russian government must fully cooperate with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on an impartial international investigation,” he said, reporting back from a meeting of the alliance’s ambassadors.

Earlier, Russia’s Investigative Committee asked one of its regional branches in Siberia to probe the possibility that someone tried to murder Navalny.

But overall, the Kremlin has rejected any suggestion that Russia was responsible and has not opened a criminal case, citing a lack of evidence.

A Moscow court on Friday dismissed a complaint brought by Navalny’s legal team over the inaction of the Russian Investigative Committee, as Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said he saw no grounds, for now, to suspect a crime was committed.


#Newsworthy…

Alexey Navalny: World leaders react to alleged poisoning in Russia

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Germany says lab test showed ‘proof without doubt’ that Russian opposition leader Navalny poisoned.


Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was poisoned with the same type of Soviet-era nerve agent that British authorities identified in a 2018 attack on a former Russian spy, Germany has said.

The German government said testing by a German military laboratory showed “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group”.

The Berlin hospital treating Navalny said he remains in a serious condition though he is improving.

The findings – which experts say point strongly to Russian state involvement – are likely to increase tensions between Russia and the West.

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It said it expects a long recovery, and it still cannot rule out long-term consequences from the poisoning.

Here is how world leaders and organisations reacted to the news:

Russia
The Kremlin said Russia was ready to cooperate fully with Germany.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: “In general, we confirm that we are ready and have an interest in full cooperation and exchange of data on this topic with Germany.”

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Peskov complained that Russia had not received an answer to its request for German doctors to share their findings.

He insisted that before Navalny was evacuated to Berlin on August 22, Russia had not found traces of poisoning, reflecting earlier statements by doctors.

France
France said the use of Novichok against Russia’s Navalny was “shocking and irresponsible”.

“I want to condemn in the strongest terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such an agent,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

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Calling on Russia to explain what had happened, he added: “Given Mr Navalny’s political status in Russia, the attack against him raises serious questions. It is the responsibility of the Russian authorities to respond to them.”

United Kingdom
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the news was “outrageous” and urged Moscow to “explain” what had happened.

“We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of Novichok in the UK,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done,” Johnson said.

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The UK’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a separate statement that Russia “must tell the truth” about what had occurred.

It’s outrageous that a chemical weapon was used against Alexey Navalny. We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of Novichok in the UK. The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done.

Germany
Chancellor Merkel said she strongly condemned the poisoning, saying he is the “victim of a crime”.

“The aim was to silence him and I strongly condemn this [crime] in the name of the German government,” Merkel said during a news conference.

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Merkel announced that Germany was notifying its EU and NATO partners about the test results in order to decide on “an appropriate, joint reaction”.

United States
The White House said it is “deeply troubled” by confirmation in Germany.

“Alexei Navalny’s poisoning is completely reprehensible,” National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said on Twitter.

“We will work with allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable, wherever the evidence leads, and restrict funds for their malign activities.

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“The Russian people have a right to express their views peacefully without fear of retribution of any kind, and certainly not with chemical agents.”

European Union
The EU chief Ursula von der Leyen denounced what she called the “despicable and cowardly” poisoning of Navalny.

Those responsible should be brought to justice, she said.

“This is a despicable and cowardly act – once again. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice,” she added.


#Newsworthy…


There was never ‘poisoning of Navalny’ – Russia’s Lukashenko tells PM

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Mishustin visits Lukashenko to offer moral support as Belarus leader claims that Kremlin foe’s poisoning was faked.


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has said Belarus should not allow external pressure to preserve its sovereign and territorial integrity, Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Mishustin made the comments on Thursday during a visit to Belarus, where longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko is under huge pressure from opposition protesters demanding his resignation after a disputed presidential election on August 9.

Meanwhile, in another sign of strengthened ties between Belarus and Russia, Lukashenko entered a growing rift between Western powers and Moscow over the poisoning of Kremlin foe Alexey Navalny.

Lukashenko claimed on Thursday that his security forces had intercepted German calls showing that Navalny’s poisoning had been faked.

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Lukashenko told Mishustin in Minsk that a call between Berlin and Warsaw showed that the incident was a “falsification”.

“There was no poisoning of Navalny,” Lukashenko told a poker-faced Mishustin during their televised meeting.

“They did it – I quote – in order to discourage [Russian President Vladimir] Putin from sticking his nose into Belarus’s affairs.”

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Lukashenko provided no further details but said he would hand over transcripts to Russia’s security services.

The claim about Navalny could be aimed at currying favour with Moscow, which has voiced support for Lukashenko during the protests.

Navalny’s top aide Leonid Volkov dismissed the claim as ridiculous, accusing the Russian prime minister of being an accomplice to the “attempted murder” by playing along in “this circus”.

Germany said on Wednesday that tests had proven Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, after he fell ill on a plane in Siberia last month and was eventually taken to Berlin for treatment.

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Meanwhile, the global chemical weapons agency Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the poisoning of any individual with a toxic nerve agent would be considered the use of a banned chemical weapon.

Novichok was banned this year by the OPCW.

Navalny, 44, remains in an artificially induced coma but his condition is improving, his German doctors have said.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko walk during a meeting in Minsk [Alexander Astafyev/Sputnik/Pool via Reuters]

Lukashenko promoted hardline loyalists to top posts in his security apparatus on Thursday in an effort to strengthen his grip on the former Soviet republic after weeks of mass protests and strikes.

Lukashenko, facing the biggest challenge to his 26-year rule, accompanied the reshuffle with instructions to act tough in the face of what he has repeatedly alleged is foreign aggression.

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“Belarus finds itself confronting an external aggressor one-to-one,” he told the new security chiefs.

“Therefore I ask you to take this to the people. They shouldn’t condemn me for any sort of softness. There’s no softness here. The country is working, although many, especially our neighbours, would like us to collapse.”

In recent years the Kremlin has pushed for closer economic and political integration between the ex-Soviet countries but Lukashenko has so far resisted an outright unification.

Lukashenko and Putin are set to meet in Moscow in the next few weeks.


#Newsworthy…


Russia: OPCW issues warning amid Navalny’s case.

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OPCW issues warning amid growing rift between Western powers and Moscow over poisoning of Kremlin critic.


In a statement regarding the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny, the global chemical weapons agency said the poisoning of any individual with a toxic nerve agent would be considered use of a banned chemical weapon.

“Any poisoning of an individual through the use of a nerve agent is considered a use of chemical weapons. Such an allegation is a matter of grave concern,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Thursday.

Novichok was banned this year by the OPCW.

Meanwhile, Russia rejected accusations that Moscow was to blame for the poisoning of opposition leader Navalny, saying it saw no grounds for sanctions to be imposed against it over the case.

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The Kremlin’s denial came on Thursday, a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow rejected any suggestion that Russia was responsible and warned other countries against jumping to hasty conclusions.

He said there was no reason to discuss measures against Moscow after Merkel said Germany would consult its NATO allies about how to respond to the poisoning.

The Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is lying in intensive care, has reported “some improvement” in his condition, but he remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

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In a statement on Wednesday, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said testing by a special German military laboratory had shown “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group”, as he described Navalny as the “victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia”.

Merkel later told a news conference: “This is disturbing information about the attempted murder through poisoning against a leading Russian opposition figure.”

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Moscow to investigate the poisoning, and said the Russian ambassador had been summoned to explain the evidence.

“This makes it all the more urgent that those responsible in Russia be identified and held accountable,” Maas told reporters. “We condemn this attack in the strongest terms.”

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Novichok – a military-grade nerve agent – was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

‘European response’
Navalny, 44, a politician and anti-corruption crusader who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

He was later transferred to Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications he had been poisoned.

Navalny is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics [File:Sefa Karacan/Anadolu]

The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.

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Reporting from Moscow, NRM said Russia’s response was so far “cautious and restrained”.

“The Russian doctors released Navalny with a ‘metabolic disorder’ diagnosis. Two labs in Russia didn’t find anything suspicious and a pre-investigation didn’t find anything leading to foul play,” she said.

“On the other hand, the opposition is saying, ‘We knew [it was Novichok] – all the symptoms are there.'”

Novichok is a cholinesterase inhibitor, part of the class of substances that doctors at the Charite initially identified in Navalny.

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Navalny’s allies said the German government’s identification of the poison used against him suggested the Russian state had been behind the attack.

“Only the state [FSB, GRU] can use Novichok. This is beyond any reasonable doubt,” Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter, referring to the FSB internal security and GRU military intelligence services.

Meanwhile, Norbert Roettgen, head of Germany’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, told Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday that “there must be a European response” when asked whether work on the NordStream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany should stop in the wake of Navalny’s poisoning.

“We must pursue hard politics, we must respond with the only language [Russian President Vladimir] Putin understands – that is gas sales,” said Roettgen, a member of Merkel’s ruling conservatives.


#Newsworthy…


News+: Russia rejects Navalny accusations after German poisoning finding.

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Moscow’s denial comes after Germany says Navalny had been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent in a bid to murder him.


Russia has rejected accusations that Moscow was to blame for the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny, saying it saw no grounds for sanctions to be imposed against it over the case.

The Kremlin denial came on Thursday, a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow rejected any suggestion that Russia was responsible and warned other countries against jumping to hasty conclusions.

He said there was no reason to discuss measures against Moscow after Merkel said Germany would consult its NATO allies about how to respond to the poisoning.

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The Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated, has reported “some improvement” in his condition, but he remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

In a statement on Wednesday, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said testing by a special German military laboratory had shown “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group”.

“It is a dismaying event that Alexey Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia,” Seibert said.

Merkel later told a news conference: “This is disturbing information about the attempted murder through poisoning against a leading Russian opposition figure.”

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Moscow to investigate the poisoning, and said the Russian ambassador had been summoned to explain the evidence.

“This makes it all the more urgent that those responsible in Russia be identified and held accountable,” Maas told reporters. “We condemn this attack in the strongest terms.”

Novichok – a military-grade nerve agent – was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

Navalny’s condition
Navalny, 44, a politician and anti-corruption crusader who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

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He was later transferred to Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications he had been poisoned.

The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.

Reporting from Moscow, Noble Reporters Media said Russia’s response was so far “cautious and restrained”.

“The Russian doctors released Navalny with a ‘metabolic disorder’ diagnosis. Two labs in Russia didn’t find anything suspicious and a pre-investigation didn’t find anything leading to foul play,” she said.

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“On the other hand, the opposition is saying, ‘We knew [it was Novichok] – all the symptoms are there.'”

Novichok is a cholinesterase inhibitor, part of the class of substances that doctors at the Charite initially identified in Navalny.

Navalny is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics [File:Sefa Karacan/Anadolu]

Navalny’s allies said the German government’s identification of the poison used against him suggested the Russian state had been behind the attack.

“Only the state [FSB, GRU] can use Novichok. This is beyond any reasonable doubt,” Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter, referring to the FSB internal security and GRU military intelligence services.


SOURCE: NOBLE REPORTERS MEDIA, NEWS AGENCIES


#Newsworthy…

Nerve Agent Found in Russia’s Navalny: Germany

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Novichok, a Soviet-era chemical weapon, was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the United Kingdom.


Tests performed on samples taken from prominent Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny showed the presence of the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, the German government said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement on Wednesday testing by a special German military laboratory had shown “proof without doubt of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group”.

“It is a dismaying event that Alexey Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia,” Seibert said. “The German government condemns this attack in the strongest terms. The Russian government is urgently requested to provide clarifications over the incident.”

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was not informed of the German findings and had no such data, Noble Reporters Media gathered

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urged Moscow to investigate the poisoning, and said the Russian ambassador had been summoned to explain the evidence.

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“This makes it all the more urgent that those responsible in Russia be identified and held accountable,” Maas told reporters. “We condemn this attack in the strongest terms.”

Novichok – a military grade nerve agent – was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the United Kingdom.

The Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated, has reported “some improvement” in his condition, but he remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny takes part in a rally in Moscow, Russia, in February [Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters]

‘Joint response’

Navalny, 44, a politician and corruption investigator who is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest critics, fell ill on a flight back to Moscow from Siberia on August 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk after the plane made an emergency landing.

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He was later transferred to Charite hospital, where doctors last week said there were indications he had been poisoned.

Seibert said the German government would inform its partners in the European Union and NATO about the Novichok test results. He said it would consult with its partners in light of the Russian response “on an appropriate joint response”.

Navalny’s allies in Russia have insisted he was deliberately poisoned by the country’s authorities, accusations the Kremlin rejected as “empty noise”.

“To poison Navalny with Novichok in 2020 would be exactly the same as leaving an autograph at a crime scene, like this one,” Navalny’s longtime ally and strategist Leonid Volkov said in a tweet that featured a photo of Putin’s name and a signature next to it.

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The Russian doctors who treated Navalny in Siberia have repeatedly contested the German hospital’s conclusion, saying they ruled out poisoning as a diagnosis and their tests for poisonous substances came back negative.

German hospital: Clinical findings point to Navalny’s poisoning (4:07)

Reporting from Moscow, Noble Reporters Media learnt Russia’s response was so far “cautious and restrained”.

“The Russian doctors released Navalny with a ‘metabolic disorder’ diagnosis. Two labs in Russia didn’t find anything suspicious and a pre-investigation didn’t find anything leading to foul play,” she said. “On the other hand, the opposition is saying, ‘We knew [it was Novichok] – all the symptoms are there.'”

Is the Russian opposition finished?
Novichok is a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and ’80s. It is a cholinesterase inhibitor, part of the class of substances that doctors at the Charite initially identified in Navalny.

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“Only the state [FSB, GRU] can use Novichok. This is beyond any reasonable doubt,” Ivan Zhdanov, director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, said on Twitter, referring to the FSB internal security and GRU military intelligence services.

READ MORE: In: Russian medics accept Nalvany evacuation.

The Navalny case has drawn parallels with two suspected Kremlin-linked poisonings in the UK.

British authorities identified Novichok as the poison used in 2018 on former Russian spy Skripal and his daughter in Salsbury, England.

In 2006, Putin was blamed for the radiation poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in the British capital.


#Newsworthy…