Navalny Associate: Kremlin Involved in Opposition Leader's Poisoning
By VOA News August 29, 2020
A close ally of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says authorities in Moscow are reluctant to investigate Navalny's alleged poisoning, because the Kremlin was behind it, despite its denials.
Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer at Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation and a prominent opposition activist, said in an interview that all the existing evidence points to the Kremlin.
"For me, it's absolutely obvious, I'm not afraid to speak it out loud, that behind the poisoning is exactly the Kremlin," said Sobol. Simply, nobody else could do it. Again, the method of the poisoning is the sign of that. Neuroparalytic poison is something that you can't buy at a pharmacy. It's a combat substance. And because of that, they will not investigate it," Sobol said.
Navalny's associates made a request to Russia's Investigative Committee for authorities to launch a criminal investigation that could lead to charges of an attempted assassination of a public figure, but say they got no response.
"They understand that any investigation will lead to the Kremlin," Sobol said. "They're not launching a criminal probe because they will have to answer at some point what the results of the investigation of this criminal case are."
Russia's Prosecutor General office said Thursday the inquiry launched last week did not find any indication of "deliberate criminal acts committed against" Navalny.
The Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said last week he saw no grounds for a criminal investigation before the cause of Navalny's condition was fully established.
Navalny, a well-known critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a corruption investigator, fell ill August 20 while flying to Moscow from Siberia, prompting an emergency landing in Omsk.
His personal doctor and aide said Navalny had drunk black tea at an airport café, which she believed was laced with poison.
Last weekend, Navalny was transferred to the Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany, for an "extensive medical diagnosis." Doctors there found traces of "cholinesterase inhibitors," a neuroparalytic substance, in his system. He reportedly remains on a ventilator in a medically-induced coma. German doctors describe his condition as serious but not life-threatening.
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