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Russia sends counter-demarche over Navalny case to OPCW — Foreign Ministry

The document says that Britain, Germany, France and Sweden and the OPCW technical secretariat are obliged to present answers to Russia' questions over the Navalny affair

MOSCOW, October 8. /TASS/. Russia has sent to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons its counter-demarche following anti-Russian provocations in the blogger Alexey Navalny case, Russia's permanent mission at the OPCW said in a news release, uploaded to the Foreign Ministry's website.

In the document, prepared after the United States and another 44 countries presented a list of questions to the Russian side in the Navalny case, the Russian mission asks the OPCW to hand to the permanent missions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, France and Sweden at the OPCW copies of the verbal note and documents in accordance with item 2 of article 9 of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Russia's questions

The document says that Britain, Germany, France and Sweden and the OPCW technical secretariat are obliged to present answers to Russia' questions over the Navalny affair.

In particular, Russia expects answers concerning the person who accompanied Navalny on the chartered ambulance flight from Omsk to Berlin. Also, Russia would like to have an explanation for why the very instance of the OPCW's demonstrative assistance to Germany on September 4-6 was concealed from it. Moscow also wants to know the role of British subject Maria Pevchikh and why traces of chemicals were eventually identified on the bottle of water she had bought in the airport's departure lounge and why the formula of chemical compounds, allegedly found in Navalny's biomaterials outside Russia are kept secret from Russian specialists.

Absence of videos

Russia addressed the OPCW with a reminder that its request for video footage, filmed while Navalny's biomaterials were being taken at Berlin's Charite hospital has remained unanswered. "Russia's permanent mission at the OPCW notifies the secretariat once again there has been no reply from it to the permanent mission's verbal note No. 29 of July 27, 2021," the text of Russia's demarche reads. "The Russian side insistently asks the secretariat to share the video materials that the secretariat's specialists were obliged to make - first when Alexey Navalny's test samples were taken at the Charite hospital, and then at the moment of their separation and sealing for handover to the laboratories the secretariat had selected for doing the examination, as well as to provide information regarding any other actions by the secretariat within the framework of providing technical assistance to Germany in relation to the incident involving Russian citizen Alexey Navalny."

The permanent mission stressed that the requested information is important for the Russian law enforcement agencies' pre-investigation probe, being conducted to find out if there were any signs of a corpus delicti and for launching criminal proceedings should any such signs be discovered.

"The permanent mission also asks the secretariat to urgently distribute a copy of this note and the accompanying documents (Annex 1 and Annex 2) among all member-states and to upload them to the OPCW website and the online hub Catalyst in the capacity of an official document of the 98th session of the OPCW Executive Committee," the document says.

The United States along with 44 other countries had handed to Russia at the OPCW headquarters their questions concerning the Navalny case, the US Department of State said earlier. The questions were submitted in accordance with procedures established by the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Russia is a signatory.

Navalny was taken to a hospital in Omsk on August 20, 2020, after collapsing on board a plane. Later, he was taken to Berlin for medical treatment. The German government on September 2, 2020 claimed that the blogger was affected by a toxic agent from the Novichok family. Berlin argued that laboratories in France and Sweden had confirmed these conclusions. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly said that Moscow is ready for all-round cooperation with Germany. He stressed that before his transportation to Berlin no poisonous substances had been detected in Navalny's system.