Left Menu
Development News Edition

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

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. Navalny fell violently ill on a flight in Russia last month and was airlifted to Berlin for treatment.

Reuters | Moscow | Updated: 17-09-2020 15:52 IST | Created: 17-09-2020 15:41 IST
Navalny team says nerve agent was found on hotel room water bottle
File Photo Image Credit: ANI

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.

Navalny fell violently ill on a flight in Russia last month and was airlifted to Berlin for treatment. Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden have established he was poisoned by a Novichok nerve agent, a poison developed by the Soviet military, though Russia denies this and says it has seen no evidence. A video posted on Navalny's Instagram account showed members of his team searching the room he had just left in the Xander Hotel in Tomsk on Aug. 20, an hour after they learned he had fallen sick in suspicious circumstances.

"It was decided to gather up everything that could even hypothetically be useful and hand it to the doctors in Germany. The fact that the case would not be investigated in Russia was quite obvious," the post said. The video of the abandoned hotel room shows two water bottles on a desk, and another on a bedside table. Navalny's team, wearing protective gloves, are seen placing items into blue plastic bags.

"Two weeks later, a German laboratory found traces of Novichok precisely on the bottle of water from the Tomsk hotel room," the post said. "And then more laboratories that took analyses from Alexei confirmed that that was what poisoned Navalny. Now we understand: it was done before he left his hotel room to go to the airport."

Previously, Navalny's aides had said they suspected he had been poisoned with a cup of tea he drank at Tomsk airport. Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister and an ally of Navalny, said his team had outmanoeuvred the FSB security police with their quick thinking: "They took the evidence from under their noses and shipped it out of the country."

Navalny's ally Georgy Alburov told Reuters "the bottles flew with Alexei" when he was airlifted to Germany on Aug. 22. PUTIN FOE

Navalny is the most prominent political opponent of President Vladimir Putin, even though he has not been allowed to form his own party. His investigations of official corruption, published on YouTube and Instagram, have reached audiences of many millions across Russia. Germany, France, Britain and other nations have demanded explanations from Russia, and there have been calls for new sanctions against Moscow.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Thursday that Germany had asked it for technical assistance. Russia has carried out pre-investigation checks, but said it needs to see more medical analysis before it can open a formal criminal investigation.

Novichok was used to poison former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in 2018. They survived, but a member of the public, Dawn Sturgess, died after picking up a contaminated bottle. Moscow also denied carrying out that attack. Members of the OPCW agreed in November 2019 to expand the agency's list of banned "Schedule 1" chemicals for the first time to include Novichok nerve agents. That ban went into effect last June.

Anton Timofeyev, a member of Navalny's team who was shown in the video gathering the samples from the hotel, said he had been mindful of the Skripal case at that moment. "We were thinking some hotel maid will go and grab these bottles," he told Reuters. "Of course, they would have been poisoned."

(Writing by Alexander Marrow and Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...

Rwanda’s COVID-19 response commendable but health information system needs improvement

Rwanda is consistently working to improve its health information system from many years. However, it is primarily dependent on the collection and reporting of health data on a monthly basis. Besides, evaluation studies on Rwandas HIS publis...

Videos

Latest News

Protesters at Louisville church, several arrests

Several arrests have been made near a downtown Louisville church where people protesting a grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case had gathered. Among those arrested Thursday night was state Rep. Attica Scott. The Louisville Democrat...

Somalia committed to promoting democracy, accountability despite COVID-19 challenge

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we are still working hard to undertake inclusive national elections where the Somali people can determine their future, he said.We are firmly committed to promoting and instilling a strong tradition of de...

Soccer-Man City teenager Delap revels in dream debut

Teenage Manchester City striker Liam Delap said being named in the starting lineup for Thursdays League Cup clash against Bournemouth caught him off guard but that he would be smiling for weeks after marking his senior debut with a goal. De...

INTERVIEW: ‘Famine is preventable, if there is political will’

In her role as WFP deputy chief, Valerie Guarnieri leads programme and policy developments towards ending hunger, including efforts to ensure protection and inclusion expand school meals and nutrition programmes empower women build resilien...

Give Feedback