The SteveWire

Germany Says 'Dark Clouds' Looming Over Russia Ties As Navalny Lies Critically Ill In Berlin Hospital

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - rferl.org - Aug. 31, 2020 - article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/germany-says-dark-clouds-looming-over-russia-ties-as-navalny-lies-critically-ill-in-berlin-hospital/30812936.html)

Germany has called on Russia [to] increase its efforts in the investigation of how opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, currently being treated at a Berlin hospital, fell critically ill.

Speaking on August 31 to French ambassadors in Paris, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned of "dark clouds" hanging over Europe's bilateral ties with Moscow, saying the continent's security was at risk.

"Of course, we have the expectation that Russia should contribute more to clearing up the Navalny case than it is doing at the moment," he said.

Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow on August 20, forcing the plane he was traveling on to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he spent two days in a hospital before being evacuated to Germany.

The 44-year-old remains in an intensive-care unit at the Charite Hospital in Berlin, where he is being kept in a medically induced coma.

Doctors at the renowned German hospital have concluded that Navalny was poisoned by the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase are a group of chemicals that are found in several drugs, as well as in some pesticides and nerve agents. He is being treated with the antidote atropine.

Navalny’s team says he was deliberately poisoned and that the Kremlin had a role. Russian doctors said their tests did not find any trace of poison while they treated Navalny.

Navalny’s reported poisoning has prompted Western governments to call for full transparency, with policymakers mulling a number of responses if the Kremlin is confirmed to have had a role.

So far, Russian officials have brushed aside allegations Navalny was deliberately poisoned and have shown little indication they plan to fully investigate the case.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, and DW

Key Words: Russia, Navalny, Germany Putin, Russian Politics, Assassinations, Poison, Russian Security Services, Spies, Russian Police, Russian Opposition

Navalny and Crowd File Photo, adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode