PRESS RELEASE ON THE SITUATION AROUND ALEXEI NAVALNY On 14th of September, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of
AKP Phnom Penh, September 16, 2020 --
the Russian Federation and Mrs. Maria Zakharova, Spokeswoman of the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation issued statements regarding the
situation around Alexei Navalny.
Excerpt from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI TV channel, Moscow, September 14, 2020 Question: You have been the Foreign Minister of Russia for 16 years now
and had to deal with the most serious challenges of this century. Sanctions were
imposed. We began to adapt to them and survived them. Germany announced that
it has received the results of Alexey Navalny’s tests. France and Sweden
confirmed the presence of the Novichok agent in them. Do you think Navalny’s
case may become the driver of new anti-Russia sanctions?
Sergey Lavrov: I agree with our political scientists who are convinced that
had it not been for Navalny, these countries would have invented something else
as a pretext for additional sanctions.
As for this situation, I think our Western partners have simply gone beyond
the pale, beyond any sense. In effect, they demand that we “confess.” We are
asked: Don’t you believe the Bundeswehr’s German specialists? How is it
possible? Their conclusions have been confirmed by the French and Swedes.
Don’t you believe them, either?
This is a mysterious story, considering we sent a request from our
Prosecutor General’s Office for legal help on August 27 and haven’t yet received
a reply. This request was God knows where for more than a week. We were told
it is at the German Foreign Ministry. The German Foreign Ministry did not send
it to the Ministry of Justice, to which it was addressed by the Russian Prosecutor
General’s Office. Then we were told that it was transferred to the Prosecutor’s
Office of Berlin, but that we would not receive any information without the
consent of the family. They urge us to start a criminal investigation.
We have our own laws, and according to them, we cannot open a criminal
case just by taking someone’s word for it. Certain procedures must be observed.
In this context, an ongoing pre-investigation review began immediately after the
incident, during which all the circumstances of the case have been and are being
studied. Some of our Western colleagues wrote that Navalny “survived by a
miracle.” Allegedly, the notorious Novichok agent was used, but the Russian
citizen escaped by a “lucky coincidence.” So, what is this “lucky coincidence” all
about? First, the pilot immediately landed the aircraft; second, an ambulance was
waiting by the runway; and third, doctors immediately started doing their
professional duty. The absolutely impeccable conduct of the pilots, doctors and
ambulance crew is being presented as a “lucky coincidence.” In other words, they
don’t even believe that we acted as we were supposed to. This is deeply ingrained
in the minds of those who invent such things.
Let’s return to our pre-investigation review. Everyone is stuck on the
criminal case. If we had started a criminal case today (but we don’t yet have legal
grounds for this and this is exactly why our Prosecutor General’s Office requested
legal aid from Germany on August 27), what would have been done in the very
beginning when this happened? We would have interviewed the pilot, passengers
and doctors. We would have learned what the doctors found out at the stage when
Navalny was brought to the Omsk hospital and what medications were given to
him. We would have spoken to those who were in contact with him. All this was
done: we questioned those five people who accompanied him to the plane, and
took part in the events of the days before Navalny boarded the plane. We posed
questions to those who waited for the departure from Tomsk to Moscow and went
to a bar with him. We found out what they ordered and what he drank. As you
know, the sixth lady that accompanied him just fled. They say it was she who
gave the bottle to the German laboratory. All this was done. Even if all this were
called a “criminal case,” we cannot do anything else.
Our Western partners look at us with an arrogant attitude against this
backdrop: We have NO right to doubt their rectitude and professionalism. If this
is the case, they believe they have the right to doubt the professionalism of our
doctors and investigators. This is a position that, regrettably, brings different
times to mind. Arrogance and a feeling of one’s own infallibility have already
been observed in Europe and led to very sad consequences.
Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on the latest statement by the German Foreign Minister on the Navalny case
We have taken note of the latest statement made by Federal Foreign
Minister of Germany Heiko Maas during a joint news conference with Iraqi
Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, held in Berlin on September 14, that Russia
should contact the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
(OPCW) to request documents and medical information about the case of Alexey
Navalny, whose tests, according to German military doctors, show traces of a
chemical warfare agent.
We regard this position of Germany as a pretext indicating its reluctance to
establish the truth in the case of Alexey Navalny.
We would like to point out in this connection that we have not received a
clear response from the German side to our request for complete information,
including the results of medical tests, biomaterials and other clinical samples,
which was submitted by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia to the Federal
Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany on August 27, 2020,
within the framework of bilateral cooperation, which has been smoothly running,
until recently, in accordance with the European Convention on Mutual Assistance
in Criminal Matters of April 20, 1959.
We regard this as Berlin’s failure to honour its official promises to provide
the requested information in response to the abovementioned inquiry. However,
our German partners later made an about-face, citing the independence of the
judiciary and the need to coordinate the matter with the patient’s relatives.
We need the samples we requested so as to complete the pre-investigation
probe the Russian law enforcement agencies are conducting into the illness and
hospitalisation of Alexey Navalny, which has been extended until September 20.
Under Russian law, a pre-investigation probe is a necessary precondition for
initiating criminal proceedings in this case, because no evidence of poisoning was
found by doctors during the patient’s examination in Omsk on August 21 and 22.
We would also like to state once again that on September 14, the Prosecutor
General’s Office of Russia sent an additional request to the Federal Ministry of
Justice and Consumer Protection of Germany for legal assistance in acquiring
information about Alexey Navalny’s treatment and tests made in Germany.
We insist that our request be granted.