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OPCW still waiting for Germany’s files on Navalny, says Russian envoy

Russia's permanent representative to the OPCW reiterated that Berlin is incriminating Moscow without corroborating its statements with facts

MOSCOW, September 10./TASS/. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has not yet received files from Germany regarding the case of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin told the "60 Minutes" program aired on the Rossiya-1 television channel on Thursday.

"According to our information, no files [in the Navalny case] have been handed to the OPCW as of yet, although the German authorities made an announcement on this matter yesterday and this morning," Shulgin specified.

"Maybe, this is a matter of time. If they [the German authorities] have promised, apparently they will pass the data," he maintained. Shulgin also said that it was not yet clear what would be the wording of the German request to the organization. "I don’t know what specifically the Germans are passing to the OPCW - paper documents, certain reports or some biochemical samples," the Russian envoy added.

According to the Russian diplomat, remarks from German officials about the Navalny case vilify Russia. "However, they are not corroborating their statements with facts. They are refusing to answer the August 27 request from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office," the envoy stressed. He said that if the Navalny files were handed to the OPCW, Russia intended to act strictly within the Chemical Weapons Convention. "There is Article IX [of the convention]. In the event of an unclear situation, you can ask the other side, and the other side must respond within 10 days. If this answer is unsatisfactory, you can turn to the [OPCW] Executive Council, and the Executive Council will appeal to the director general [of the organization]," the diplomat said, adding that even a special group could be set up to clarify all of the case’s circumstances.

Navalny’s ‘poisoning’ saga

Russian blogger Alexei Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk on August 20 after he suddenly felt ill in mid-flight traveling from Tomsk to Moscow. He fell into a coma and was then hooked up to a ventilator. Later, he was taken to Berlin and admitted to the Charite clinic. On September 2, the German government said that German military toxicologists had found that Navalny had been exposed to a nerve agent belonging to the Novichok family. Berlin and its Western partners called on Moscow to clarify the circumstances of the incident and warned they would look into possible sanctions against Moscow. The Russian side stated that it was interested in a comprehensive investigation of the Navalny case but is yet to receive any reply from Berlin to its inquiry.

On Wednesday, a representative from the Federal Ministry of Defense said that Germany had passed the results of Navalny’s medical tests to the OPCW.

For her part, German Government Deputy Spokesperson Martina Fitz noted that after handing over the samples to the OPCW, where Russia is also a member, Berlin does not see any conditions for Germany to hand over the evidence of its conclusions on the Navalny case to Russia.