The Group of Seven foreign ministers demanded on Tuesday that Russia “urgently” find and prosecute the culprits behind the “confirmed poisoning” of opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
“We, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the confirmed poisoning of Alexei Navalny,” said a joint statement by the leading industrial democracies released by the United States Department of State.
“Germany has briefed G7 partners on the fact that clinical and toxicological findings by German medical experts and a specialized laboratory of the German armed forces have determined that Mr. Navalny is the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve-agent of the ‘Novichok’ group, a substance developed by Russia. Mr. Navalny is in intensive care in a Berlin hospital and remains in a serious condition,” the statement added.
Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's leading critic, is being treated in a Berlin hospital. He was airlifted to Germany after falling ill on a Russian domestic flight last month. Germany says he was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him; Russia has said it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.
The G7 foreign ministers reminded Russia of its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention and called on Moscow to bring the culprits to justice.
“This attack against opposition leader Navalny is another grave blow against democracy and political plurality in Russia. It constitutes a serious threat to those men and women engaged in defending the political and civil freedoms that Russia herself has committed to guarantee,” the ministers said in their joint statement.
“We will continue to monitor closely how Russia responds to international calls for an explanation of the hideous poisoning of Mr. Navalny. We remain strongly committed to our support for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Russia and to bolster our support to the Russian civil society.”
- With Agencies