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Too much absurdity in Navalny case to take anyone’s word on trust — Kremlin

Moscow keeps trying to obtain the results of tests of Russian blogger Alexey Navalny from the Organization for the Prohibition ​​​​​​of Chemical Weapons, but to no avail, the spokesman revealed
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov  Sergei Karpukhin/TASS
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Sergei Karpukhin/TASS

MOSCOW, September 18. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there are too many absurd inconsistencies in the alleged poisoning of Russian blogger Alexey Navalny to take anyone's word for it.

"There is too much absurdity about this whole situation to take anyone’s word on trust, so we are not going to take anyone’s word," Peskov told journalists Friday.

Commenting on the reports that traces of a Novichok-class substance had allegedly been found on a bottle in Navalny’s hotel room, Peskov said: "We cannot explain this, because this bottle, if it ever existed, had been taken somewhere in Germany or elsewhere."

"This means that an object that could serve as an evidence of poisoning has been shipped away. This is yet another question: why and so on," he said.

Having no chance to study the bottle itself, Russian specialists cannot say anything, Peskov noted.

The Kremlin spokesman also cited toxicology experts who say that, if such a bottle with traces of a combat nerve agent ever existed, it is highly unlikely anyone would have been able to take it anywhere. "They wouldn’t have enough time," Peskov said.

"The amount of the absurd and the number of questions keeps growing every day. The only thing that could shed some light on what happened is exchange of information, exchange of biological materials, exchange of evidence and joint work, including that of medics, and so forth, on analyzing the situation," the spokesman insisted.

Peskov was not clear whether the investigators and the intelligence agencies attempted to recreate Navalny’s route and identify objects that Navalny could have touched. "I cannot tell you. We don’t do investigations in the Kremlin," he said.

"If there had been any traces of chemical weapons on Russian territory, then, of course, the president would have been briefed immediately. That would have been a total emergency," the spokesman underscored. "The thing is that we are told: ‘here are the Novichok traces on the bottle.’ But a specialist says that, if there were traces of the Novichok on the bottle, then people, who touched it or at least were nearby, could have been affected. This totally contradicts the conclusions of the experts."

"If there was a bottle, why was it transported somewhere? Then maybe, someone does not want an investigation to take place?" Peskov went on. "I don’t know if our law enforcement seeks to find this out or not."

Obtaining results of tests from OPCW

Moscow keeps trying to obtain the results of tests of Russian blogger Alexey Navalny from the Organization for the Prohibition ​​​​​​of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), but to no avail, the Kremlin spokesman revealed.

"Yes, Russia continues these attempts," Peskov said, answering a question.

"De facto, the situation is as follows: the OPCW Technical Secretariat says ‘we know nothing, talk to the Germans,’ and the Germans say ‘we know nothing, talk to the OPCW," the spokesman said.

"What I said perfectly reflects the current situation; yet still, we do not abandon our attempts to talk to our counterparts in the [OPCW] Technical Secretariat and in Berlin," the spokesman said.

Claims about Navalny’s cooperation with foreign intelligence

Dmitry Peskov refrained from commenting on the remarks made by State Duma (parliament's lower house) Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin regarding possible involvement of foreign intelligence agencies in the alleged poisoning of blogger Alexey Navalny. The spokesman told journalists Friday that there are currently more questions than answers about the case.

"We cannot state either our agreement or disagreement with [Volodin]. There are more questions arising in this case than we get answers," Peskov said.

He pointed out that Moscow has very limited options to investigate the incident, "because, as it turned out, some items have been moved from Russia, and there is no way to study the examination results."

The Kremlin has no information whether Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny who was hospitalized in Omsk, Siberia, cooperates with foreign intelligence services, Dmitry Peskov went on. "I cannot answer this question because I don’t have this information," Peskov said.

Peskov also recalled that the poisoning version was on the table from the very start. "It was on the table from the very start, but has seen no confirmation because poisoning implies presence of poisonous substances in bloodstream. The Omsk medics and Moscow laboratories found no poisonous substances in the patient’s blood," he underscored.

Peskov assured that Russia is concerned over the information that comes from Berlin. "They say that the examination revealed that is poisoning. Laboratories from France and Sweden have come to the same conclusion," the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Russia has no way to study the examination results "either because our Berlin colleagues do not want it, or because the patient himself does not want it."

"All this raises questions. We cannot answer these questions now, but all this complicates our attempts to find out what actually happened," Peskov concluded.