Alexei Navalny Accuses Putin of Ordering Novichok Attack

Joseph B. Hash

MOSCOW—Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny blamed President Vladimir Putin for his poisoning with a Soviet-era nerve agent and promised to return to Moscow to fight for political alter in Russia. The opposition politician, who has accumulated an tremendous on-line pursuing with exposes of Kremlin-connected corruption, mentioned he was poisoned with a […]

MOSCOW—Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny blamed President Vladimir Putin for his poisoning with a Soviet-era nerve agent and promised to return to Moscow to fight for political alter in Russia.

The opposition politician, who has accumulated an tremendous on-line pursuing with exposes of Kremlin-connected corruption, mentioned he was poisoned with a new sort of Novichok and that the restricted nature of the nerve agent created it clear the Kremlin was driving his attack. The very potent toxin can only be manufactured at specified labs and at a certain temperature, according to scientists who assisted produce the poison.

“I imagine Putin is individually driving the attack on me,” he mentioned on his web site on Thursday.

The statement came hrs soon after a German magazine printed Mr. Navalny’s very first account of the situations bordering his poisoning in late August.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a conference through video meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday.



Photograph:

Alexei Druzhinin/Associated Press

“I will not give Putin the reward of not returning to Russia,” Mr. Navalny informed Der Spiegel in the interview printed Thursday. “I do not want to be an opposition leader in exile.”

Mr. Navalny’s poisoning has spotlighted Russia’s political opposition and the troubles it has confronted beneath Mr. Putin’s twenty-calendar year rule, and threatens to turn into one more geopolitical flashpoint in relations in between Moscow and the West.

Experts in Germany, France and Sweden have mentioned Mr. Navalny was poisoned—a conclusion disputed by the Kremlin. Western governments have pushed Moscow to open an investigation into Mr. Navalny’s health issues, but Moscow has refused to do so until authorities in Germany, where by he was flown for remedy when comatose, share much more evidence.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Mr. Navalny’s accusation was unfounded and unacceptable.

“We want to investigate what occurred, but to do that we require much more data,” Mr. Peskov informed reporters at a briefing Thursday. He mentioned Mr. Navalny was most likely doing work with Western intelligence, a declare generally leveled at the opposition politician.

Mr. Navalny ridiculed the opinions on his web site Thursday.

“My very first response was a healthier child’s snicker,” he mentioned, adding that he would file a lawsuit in opposition to Mr. Peskov and desire that the Kremlin publishes evidence of his alleged “work with CIA specialists.”

Recounting the past minutes prior to he fell unconscious to the German magazine, Mr. Navalny mentioned he felt no suffering but was convinced he was dying. He mentioned his times now consist of walks in a Berlin park, physiotherapy and paying out time on social media in the night.

When asked why he was poisoned, he mentioned he thought the place for political dissent has shrunk to these types of an extent in Russia that poison, a instrument once reserved for traitors, could be used in opposition to a genuine opposition determine.

Mr. Navalny mentioned the Kremlin wished to crack down on its domestic enemies soon after anti-Kremlin protests erupted in Russia’s Significantly East in July and are nevertheless ongoing.

Mr. Putin is also troubled by massive antigovernment road protests in Belarus in opposition to his ally, President Alexander Lukashenko, pursuing disputed elections in August, analysts have mentioned. The past point Mr. Putin would like is for an authoritarian leader in his yard to be toppled by the sort of individuals electrical power that Mr. Navalny is able of rallying, they mentioned.

“Something in Putin’s head has transformed,” the opposition leader mentioned. “The fact has transformed.”

Generate to Thomas Grove at [email protected]

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