Disinfo: Western media accuse Russian agents of “alleged” Navalny poisoning

Summary

Certain Western media present “claims” that an elite unit of the Russian Federal Security Agency (FSB) was following Alexey Navalny and his wife for months and in August 2020 attempted to assassinate him with Novichok. However, no poison was found in Navalny’s blood samples in Russia and when later he was transferred in Germany, the German authorities have concluded that Novichok was used, although no evidence is shared with Moscow.

Disproof

This report follows the recurring disinformation narrative concerning the poisoning of a prominent Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny.

As it is well known by now, Navalny fell ill during a flight from Siberia to Moscow on the 20th of August. He was initially hospitalised in Omsk, but shortly afterwards, at the request of his family, he was transferred to Charité hospital in Berlin, where clinical findings indicated that he was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Navalny. Additionally, Navalny's poisoning with a Novichok-type agent had been solidly established and later independently corroborated by labs in France and Sweden, and finally confirmed by the OPCW.

On 14 December, the investigation website Bellingcat presented two stories in which the role of pro-Kremlin entities in Navalny's poisoning is explained. The first story showed FSB's chemical weapons' team involved in the poisoning and the second the methodology behind the investigation. A week later, on 21 December, Bellingcat has disclosed a recorded conversation in which a member of the suspected FSB poison squad describes how his unit carried out, and attempted to clean up evidence of, the poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Germany has responded to past Russian calls for Navalny's medical samples by saying that Russia should already have all it needs after its initial treatment of the dissident. German authorities also informed Russia via diplomatic channels on the progress of the investigation. Arne Collatz, a spokesman for Germany’s Defence Ministry also said the data had been provided to the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Furthermore, on September 11, Berlin’s Justice Ministry approved a request from Moscow for legal assistance in the investigation and information on Navalny’s state of health, “subject to his consent”.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russophobic Western media push the narrative of Putin’s role in Navalny poisoning, that the West has an interest in the death of Navalny, that only traces of alcohol and caffeine were found in Navalny's blood, or that the West will falsely accuse Russia of poisoning Navalny.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Greek
  • Country: Russia, Germany
  • Keywords: novichok, Mainstream media, West, Alexei Navalny, FSB

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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