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Russia concerned by OPCW’s silence on discrepancies in report on Navalny, envoy says

The envoy stated that the OPCW Technical Secretariat maintains "a thick smokescreen" around the Navalny case

MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. The absence of a reaction of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the discrepancies in the report related to the alleged poisoning of blogger Alexey Navalny concerns yet does not surprise Moscow, Russia's envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said in an interview with the Russia-24 TV channel on Friday.

"The position of the Technical Secretariat which is holding a theatrical pause, keeping silent, draws attention. As we say, they’re playing mum. Are we surprised by this? No, because we have already experienced this with the previous Technical Secretariat. Does this alarm us? Yes, it does, because this entire murky story with the alleged poisoning of Navalny was used by a certain group of countries in order to unleash a new anti-Russian campaign," he said.

The envoy stated that the OPCW Technical Secretariat maintains "a thick smokescreen" around the Navalny case. "This smokescreen upon inspection turns out to be disinformation," he added.

The diplomat noted that he "didn’t recall" similar errors in the organization’s work. "[Such errors] are fraught with serious political consequences," he emphasized.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the OPCW draft report had revealed fatal inconsistencies for the version of events claiming Navalny was poisoned, which the Technical Secretariat was unable to explain to Moscow. The document indicated that the OPCW Technical Secretariat had deployed a mission for technical assistance related to the suspected "poisoning of a Russian citizen" at Germany’s request on August 20, 2020 - the day of the Navalny incident. The diplomat emphasized that the drafting of Germany’s request to the OPCW had to take a considerable amount of time, as that could not have happened immediately. Later, German Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Rainer Breul said at a briefing that time discrepancies in the OPCW draft report were caused by a mistake in the date, which was corrected in the second version.

Navalny was rushed to a local hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk on August 20, 2020 after collapsing on a Moscow-bound flight from Tomsk. Later, he was airlifted to Berlin and admitted to the Charite hospital. On September 2, Berlin claimed that having examined Navalny’s test samples, German government toxicologists had come to the conclusion that the blogger had been affected by a toxic agent belonging to the Novichok family. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly emphasized that Russia was ready for comprehensive cooperation with Germany and pointed out that no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny’s system prior to his transfer to Berlin.