Forty-five countries, including the United States, are demanding that Russia provide answers about the poisoning of Kremlin dissident Alexei Navalny.
In August 2020, Navalny survived an assassination attempt while on a trip to Siberia. After medical treatment in Germany, he returned to Russia where he was arrested, tried on a spurious charge, and imprisoned. The U.S. Government assesses that agents from Russia’s FSB intelligence agency poisoned Navalny, using a Novichok nerve agent.
The forty-five countries submitted questions to the Russian Federation about the assassination attempt on October 5 at the Hague. The presentation of the questions coincided with a meeting of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, which is the 41-member policy-making body charged with promoting the effective implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. As a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia is required to provide answers to the questions within 10 days.
“It is essential that Russia sets out in detail the steps taken to investigate and shed light on the use of a chemical weapon on its territory,” said a joint statement by the 45 countries.
In a separate statement, the U.S. Department of State noted, “The United States and many in the international community have long sought clarity on Russia’s attempted assassination of Mr. Navalny with a chemical weapon on August 20, 2020, and whether it intends to cooperate with the OPCW. Russia’s continued lack of transparency and cooperation surrounding the poisoning is particularly concerning.”
“Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and anyone who uses them should be identified and held to account…There can be no impunity for such actions,” the State Department declared. “The United States calls on Russia to answer the questions in accordance with its obligations and to make clear to the international community what it has done and is doing to insure that there is no further use of chemical weapons from Russian territory.”