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“We are already used to the fact that the United States and other Western countries simply announce in the media another series of accusations against Russia, be it hackers, or some kind of sensation about the double or even triple poisoning of Navalny.” Lavrov said during a press conference after a visit to Croatia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman.
In this photo published by the Press Service of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, pose for a photo before from their talks in Zagreb, Croatia, on December 16, 2020. (AP)

“All this news is fun to read, but it only says one thing, or rather the way this news is presented says only one thing: that our Western partners have no ethical standards and lack skill in normal diplomatic work, and [have] unwillingness to comply with international legal standards when it comes to finding the facts, “added Lavrov.

“And the [West’s] The logic here: “Look, we have announced … new facts that were discovered by the German special services about the Navalny poisoning, and Moscow has been silent for two days; if it is silent, it means that it is guilty.” The flaw in this approach, in my opinion, is obvious to any sane person, “Lavrov said.

On Monday, CNN and the Bellingcat research group published an exclusive investigation that uncovered evidence that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) formed an elite team specializing in nerve agents that followed Navalny for years.

Alexei Navalny
A photo of a leaflet posted by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on his Instagram account on September 23, 2020. He was discharged from a Berlin hospital after more than a month of poisoning treatment, and doctors they now believe that a “full recovery” of the nerve agent is possible. (AP / Instagram)

Lavrov’s comment marks the first reaction by a Russian official, as authorities have largely refrained from commenting on the findings. The Kremlin canceled its daily press conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday due to “preparations” for President Vladimir Putin’s annual press conference on Thursday.

Navalny told CNN that he was sure Putin knew of the elaborate follow-up operation before he was poisoned. “I’m absolutely sure Putin was aware,” Navalny said Tuesday, during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Vladimir Putin says that a coronavirus vaccine developed in Russia is safe and effective.
Russian President Vladirmir Putin (AP)

“The operation of such skill and for so long cannot exist without a decision of the head of the FSB (of the Russian Federal Security Service), Mr. Bortnikov. And he would never dare to do it without the direct order of President Putin.”

Since then, the European Union has imposed sanctions on several top officials, including Alexander Bortnikov, saying he was “responsible for providing support to the people who carried out or were involved in the poisoning” of Navalny.

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