MINSK, September 3. /TASS/. Minsk has intercepted a conversation between Berlin and Warsaw, which proves that the story of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny’s poisoning was fabricated, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday, adding that the information would be handed over to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
"Before [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel made a statement that someone sought to silence Navalny, we had intercepted a conversation. As far as we can understand, it was a chat between Warsaw and Berlin," Lukashenko said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. "Our military electronic intelligence agency intercepted the conversation. We continue to confront NATO in the field of electronic intelligence because military units are deployed there [along the western border of Belarus - TASS]," Lukashenko specified.
"We intercepted an interesting chat, I will provide a transcript to you and we will also send it to the FSB [Russian principal security agency]. This proves that it is a fabricated story. Navalny was not poisoned," the Belarusian president stressed.
The aim of the Berlin-Warsaw plot was to "discourage Putin from sticking his nose in Belarusian affairs," Lukashenko said, citing the intercepted conversation between German and Polish officials.
"A group of specialists prepared, as far as I understand, details for [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel’s administration, or maybe even the statement that she made. They did it, and I quote, ‘to discourage Putin from sticking his nose into Belarusian affairs.’ That’s a quote from this conversation. Do you understand how deviously these people act," Lukashenko insisted.
"Therefore, I believe that [FSB Director Alexander] Bortnikov and [Foreign Intelligence Service Director Sergei] Naryshkin will have to examine this situation seriously. We will hand over both the voice recording and the text. The materials will be at your intelligence services in full today or tomorrow, so that they can figure out who needed this," Lukashenko emphasized.
"There is another quote: In particular, they will hold elections shortly, voting day in the Russian regions.’ That is, they know that there will be elections in Russia and that they have some dirty trick up their sleeves ahead of those elections," the president cautioned.
"We believe they will come up with something else. This is their style. This is their true face," Lukashenko pointed out. "There was also talk about Belarus. I will leave it to you so you can read it."
"They are making sure that they won’t give us any peace, life will not be quiet," the Belarusian leader concluded. "I am certain of that. But you must understand that we are determined to defend our sovereignty and our independence and we won’t allow them to make us give in here."
Navalny ‘poisoning’ saga
Russian blogger Alexei Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk on August 20, after his health deteriorated rapidly during his flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Upon hospitalization, Navalny was in coma and then hooked up to a ventilator. On August 22, he was transferred to the Charite clinic in Berlin. On Wednesday, the German government claimed that Navalny’s tests revealed traces of an unidentified poisonous substance from the notorious Novichok group.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed Thursday that Russian specialists discovered no poisonous substance during Navalny’s stay at the Omsk hospital. He stressed that Russia is undoubtedly interested in determining the cause of the incident, adding that the information from Germany’s authorities would help the investigation better understand what happened to the blogger. Peskov mentioned that the Ministry of the Interior is carrying out a pre-investigation inspection and all the necessary investigative procedures.