New information in the Alexei Navalny case
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Ladies and gentlemen,
Early this afternoon, along with the Federal Minister of Finance and Deputy Chancellor, the Federal Foreign Minister, the Federal Minister of Defence, the Federal Minister of the Interior, the Federal Minister of Justice and the Head of the Federal Chancellery, I was informed about new developments in the Alexei Navalny case, and we discussed how to handle this new information. Indeed, we already gave you written information this afternoon. This is shocking information about the attempted murder by poisoning of one of Russia’s opposition leaders. That is why I think it is important for me to make a statement here now.
Mr Navalny has been receiving treatment here in Berlin since 22 August. On humanitarian grounds and in line with his family’s wishes, we made it possible for him to be transferred to Germany.
The Charité hospital asked specialist toxicologists from the Bundeswehr to test various samples from Mr Navalny. The Bundeswehr’s specialist laboratory has now reached a clear conclusion: Alexei Navalny was the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. There is unequivocal proof of the presence of this agent in the samples.
It is therefore clear that Alexei Navalny is the victim of a crime. The aim was to silence him. I condemn this in the strongest possible terms, also on behalf of the entire Federal Government.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sympathies to Alexei Navalny, and to his family, who are going through a very difficult time. I hope and wish that he can recover from this attack.
I called the Federal President a little while ago and discussed this new information in the Navalny case with him. The Federal Government has also informed the parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag. In addition, the Federal Government will contact the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.
The Russian Ambassador was informed of the results of the tests this afternoon at the Federal Foreign Office. We expect the Russian Government to make a statement on this incident. There are now very serious questions that only the Russian Government can and must answer. Alexei Navalny’s fate has attracted global attention. The world will be waiting for answers.
We are informing our partners in the EU and in NATO about the results of the tests. We will be discussing the matter together and will decide on an appropriate joint response in the light of Russia’s pronouncements. The crime committed against Alexei Navalny is an attack on the fundamental values and basic rights to which we are committed.