After having miraculously survived an alleged assassination attempt, Russian opposition personality Alexei Navalny returned to the headlines on Thursday following claims that he has evidence that he was poisoned with Novichok. The claims were made in the midst of a political and media hysteria in Europe and the US being fomented to urge more sanctions against Russia and, in particular, to ban the Nordstream II gas pipeline project between Germany and Russia
Western governments and media outlets have formed a chorus claiming that the Russian government has used Novichok, a toxic nerve agent, to poison political opposition personality Alexei Navalny, following on from earlier accusations that another critic of the Russian government, Sergei Skripal, was also poisoned. Both survived the alleged assassination attempts.
Initially, Navalny supporters claimed he may have been poisoned after drinking a cup of tea at the airport. But now it’s claimed that he was poisoned by a water bottle from his hotel room. The story has mutated considerably over time.
As Zero Hedge reports, according to Navalny’s allegations they discovered the container in which the Novichok was put in the following manner.
“It was decided to gather up everything that could even hypothetically be useful and hand it to the doctors in Germany. The fact that the case would not be investigated in Russia was quite obvious,” the post said.
It showed his team bagging several empty bottles of “Holy Spring” mineral water, among other items, while wearing protective gloves.
“Two weeks later, a German laboratory found traces of Novichok precisely on the bottle of water from the Tomsk hotel room,” the post said.
“And then more laboratories that took analyses from Alexei confirmed that that was what poisoned Navalny. Now we understand: it was done before he left his hotel room to go to the airport.”
How Navalny’s teammates survived after the contact with a bottle with ‘Novichok’ remains a secret. Probably, they, as well as their leader, are de-facto immune to the deadliest ‘chemical weapons’ of the Kremlin.
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Откуда взялась злосчастная бутылка? Давайте объясним, откуда взялось то, про что нам непрерывно задают вопросы. Так называемая “бутылка с «Новичком»”, ну, а точнее, обычная пластиковая бутылка из-под воды, на которой потом в немецкой лаборатории обнаружили следы боевого отравляющего вещества. Это бутылка из номера в томской гостинице, где останавливался сам Навальный и вся наша съемочная группа. Перенесемся обратно в 20 августа. В этот день часть нашей команды улетела в Москву, часть осталась в Томске доделывать видео. В полете Алексей потерял сознание и начал задыхаться, самолёт экстренно сел. Почти сразу сотрудники ФБК, которые остались в Томске, узнали о случившемся. В этот момент была сделана единственно возможная вещь. Они вызвали адвоката, поднялись в номер, из которого только что выехал Навальный, и начали фиксировать, описывать и упаковывать все, что там нашли. В том числе, и бутылки из-под гостиничной воды. Как это происходило, вы можете посмотреть на этом видео. Никакой особой надежды что-то такое обнаружить не было. Но поскольку нам было абсолютно ясно, что Навальный не “слегка заболел”, не “перегрелся” и Рафаэлкой здесь не поможешь, было решено забрать все, что может хоть как-то гипотетически пригодиться, и передать это врачам в Германии. То, что дело расследовать в России не будут, тоже было достаточно очевидно. Так и вышло: прошел почти месяц, Россия так и не признала отравление Алексея. Спустя две недели именно на бутылке из томского номера немецкая лаборатория обнаружила следы «Новичка». А потом еще две лаборатории, которые брали анализы у Алексея, подтвердили, что Навальный был отравлен именно им. Теперь мы понимаем: это было сделано до того, как он покинул свой номер, чтобы поехать в аэропорт. Сегодня в 20.00 в передаче «Россия Будущего» на ютюб-канале Навальный LIVE Георгий Албуров @alburov расскажет подробности.
On Thursday the European Parliament passed a resolution requesting an international probe into the Navalny incident. The political manoeuvre followed comments by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, who supported calls for the imposition of a new set of sanctions on Russia.
The campaign for additional sanctions against Russia before any actual investigation has been completed into the poisoning claims, much less an investigation of who might have been the perpetrators, clearly shows that Brussels is not interested in establishing the truth but is instead seeking a pretext to further damage relations between Europe and Russia, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Aleksey Chizhov, said the resolution appeared to be extremely rushed and contained some elemental factual mistakes. Squarely calling the Navalny affair a “poisoning” shows the EU is trying to blame Russia for the incident instead of finding out what exactly happened, the diplomat said, adding that “Russia will find a way to retaliate if the EU decides to implement sanctions.” LINK
The resolution passed on Thursday called on European Union member states to “continue to isolate Russia in international forums,” encouraging the European Council “to prioritize the approval of the EU Magnitsky-style human rights sanctions” against what it called “the Russian regime.” The ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions are named after a Russian tax auditor, and associate of American-turned-British billionaire Bill Browder, who died in a Moscow prison in 2009.
532 MEPs voted for the resolution, 84 were against and 72 abstained. A total of 688 out of the registered 705 MEPs took part in the voting. The resolution is advisory in nature and not legally binding, intended to provide policy recommendations for EU governments.
“It is necessary to immediately start an international investigation, with the participation of the EU, United Nations, Council of Europe and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” the resolution states. It names Alexey Navalny as “a leading Russian opposition politician, lawyer, blogger and anti-corruption activist” who has become “one of the few effective leaders of the Russian opposition.”
In addition to damaging Europe-Russia relations generally, it now appears that the main objective of the allegations surrounding the incident is to use it as a pretext to block the completion and commissioning of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline, as the European Parliament resolution also reiterated its “previous position to halt the Nord Stream 2 project.” LINK
A report at Oilprice.com notes that:
The U.S., several European countries, including the Baltic states and Poland, as well as the European Union (EU), have expressed concern about Russia using gas sales and its gas monopoly Gazprom as a political tool.
The US and its collaborators in the campaign to block Nord Stream II (and, coincidentally, instead supply Europe with much more expensive gas from the US) have also been recruiting support from opposition groups in countries where the government has not joined their campaign. The supposedly isolated events and incidents are converging just in time for an EU summit next week which could be crucial to the prospects of the Nord Stream 2 project in the immediate future.
An article at Global Research commented of the latest rush of demands for more sanctions against Russia:
Last December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said “European energy policy is decided in Europe, not the United States. We reject any outside interventions and extraterritorial sanctions.”
Did the novichok poisoning of Putin critic Alexey Navalny hoax change things?
During a September 24 – 25 summit of EU leaders, the future of Nord Stream 2 will be discussed.
Ahead of the summit, Merkel’s government offered to invest around one billion euros (about $1.2 billion) in construction of two terminals in Germany for US LNG…
According to the German news outlet Die Zeit, German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz sent a letter to US Treasury Secretary Mnunchin in August with the proposal:
“In exchange (for Berlin’s proposed LNG investment), the US will allow unobstructed finalization and use of Nord Stream 2,” adding:
“(E)xisting legal options for (challenging US) sanctions (on firms involved in the project) have not been exhausted yet.”
Proposed German LNG terminals would be built in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven.
Berlin’s proposal also included a gas transit contract for Ukraine and financing of a terminal for Poland’s use of US LNG.
Following the Navalny incident, opinion on completing Nord Stream 2 in Germany is divided.
Although Merkel still supports the project, as evidenced by her government’s offer to build two terminals for US LNG in exchange for dropping sanctions on the pipeline by the US, German media reports that Merkel has said a final decision on Nord Stream 2 has not been made following the Navalny incident.
When the US imposed additional sanctions on companies involved in the project earlier this year, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said Russia will complete construction of the project on its own if necessary, and that it is expected to be operational early next year.
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