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Kremlin dismisses allegations of Russian authorities’ involvement in Navalny incident

The presidential spokesman rejected reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to set up a commission to look into the case of blogger Alexei Navalny

MOSCOW, September 10. /TASS/. The Kremlin believes that any allegations about the involvement of Russian officials in the incident with blogger Alexei Navalny are a priori erroneous and unacceptable, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters commenting on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement.

"We heard his statement. We are interested in finding out the causes of the incident. We believe that any direct or indirect links and hints about the involvement of any official Russian representatives in this incident are unacceptable and a priori erroneous and distorting the reality," Peskov said.

On Wednesday, Pompeo said in an interview with journalist Ben Shapiro that the US would do its best "to come to a conclusion about who was responsible" for the incident with Russian blogger Alexei Navalny. Pompeo refused to comment on the US possible response saying that he did not want to "get in front of the President."

Information about Navalny's improved condition

Russia has no official information about the condition of blogger Alexei Navalny, including the reports he has regained consciousness, the presidential spokesman said. "There is no trustworthy information about the patient’s health at our disposal," Peskov said.

As for reports that Navalny has come round and remembers many things, Peskov said the information was not official. "These are media reports. We’ve developed a habit of being very cautious towards media reports. We cannot regard them as a primary source until the moment they have been backed up by some more or less official information," he concluded.

Data shared with OPCW

The Kremlin would have preferred if Berlin had directly handed over data on the incident with blogger Alexei Navalny to Russia and wonders why some difficulties with this have emerged, Dmitry Peskov said.

"We only have to wonder why there are still some difficulties with sharing these results with us," Peskov said.

He noted that Moscow did not know what particular data the German side had sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). "Certainly, we still prefer the direct handover of these tests to us," Peskov stated.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, the allegations on the toxic agent were based on the Berlin laboratory’s data while the tests carried out by the Omsk and Moscow laboratories did not detect any poisonous substances in Navalny’s body.

Denying reports about setting up commission to look into Navalny case

Dmitry Peskov has rejected reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to set up a commission to look into the case of blogger Alexei Navalny in a call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

At the same time, Peskov pointed out that the parties had touched upon the Navanly incident and the president had said that Russia was determined to figure out its cause.

"I don’t rule out that there could have been a misunderstanding. The situation surrounding the Berlin patient was indeed touched upon," the Russian presidential spokesman said, adding that Putin had told the Italian prime minister "that a pre-investigation probe has been underway for quite a while."

Peskov emphasized that there was no legal reason to open a criminal case "because tests conducted by Russian experts did not detect any toxic substances." "In fact, Putin reiterated that we are determined to figure out the cause of the incident," Peskov noted.

According to him, Russia seeks to cooperate and exchange information with Germany. "Russia is ready to exchange information, Russian doctors have put forward a relevant initiative. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any response from our German colleagues," Peskov stressed.

The Italian prime minister said earlier in an interview with the Il Foglio newspaper that Putin had promised in a call with him to create a commission to look into the Navalny incident.

Putin and Conte held a telephone conversation on August 26. The Kremlin said then that the parties had discussed the developments in Belarus and Libya and agreed to boost cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, Putin emphasized that groundless accusations related to the Navalny situation were unacceptable and that Russia was interested in an impartial investigation into the incident.

Navalny’s poisoning saga

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20 after becoming ill during his Tomsk-Moscow flight. He fell into a coma and was put on a ventilator in an intensive care unit. On August 22, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital. Last week, the German government claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples the Bundeswehr’s toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the opposition figure had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia was ready for any comprehensive cooperation with Germany. He pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.

On September 7, doctors of the German clinic announced that Navalny had been removed from his medically induced coma and was being weaned off mechanical ventilation.