Vladimir Putin’s main political opponent Alexei Navalny is believed to have been poisoned with Novichok nerve agent, according to the German government.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert released a statement on Wednesday claiming tests carried out on the Russian opposition leader provide clear proof that he was poisoned by a chemical nerve agent.
“It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia,” the statement read.
Tests carried out by the German army in consultation with the Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated, had found evidence of the agent, he said.
The 44-year-old critic of Vladimir Putin and anti-corruption campaigner was brought to the German capital on August 25 after falling ill in Siberia, where he has been in a coma since.
His team say he was poisoned on the orders of President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegation.
The German government said it condemned the attack in the strongest terms as chancellor Angela Merkel meets with senior ministers to discuss next steps.
“It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny was the victim of a chemical nerve agent in Russia. It has been strongly condemned by the Federal government,” the statement read, adding the Russian Government is urged to provide an explanation on the matter.
The Kremlin said it had not received any information from Germany that Mr Navalny had been poisoned using a Novichok nerve agent, Russia’s Tass news agency reported.
The German said it would inform the EU and Nato of its findings and that Mr Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya and Russia’s ambassador to Germany would also be informed of the results, the statement read.
“It will discuss an appropriate joint reaction with the partners in the light of the Russian agreement,” it read.
“The Federal Government will also contact the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OVCW).
“We hope for a full recovery of Alexei Navalny,” the statement concluded.
Originally published as Politician poisoned with ‘nerve agent’