US Secretary of State on Navalny Poisoning: Pompeo accuses Putin government

US Secretary of State on Navalny Poisoning: Pompeo accuses Putin government

Unlike US President Donald Trump, his Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo suspects “high government members” in Russia to be behind the attack on Navalny.

The poison attack on the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has probably been arranged according to estimates by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of high office in Moscow. There is a “significant probability” that “high-ranking government officials” were behind the attack, Pompeo said in a radio interview on Wednesday. It was an attempt to “poison a dissident”.

Pompeo’s remarks stood out in a remarkable way from a previous statement by US President Donald Trump on the Navalny case. Trump said on Friday that he had no evidence of a poison attack. The US president is repeatedly accused by critics of an overly indulgent and friendly attitude towards the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin.

In contrast to Trump, Pompeo now stated as a fact that the Russian opposition activist was poisoned. He also said the US government would try to find out who was responsible for the attack. This investigation should also “reduce the risk that such things happen again”. “I think the world has matured and agreed that normal countries don’t work that way, and it will prove costly to the Russians,” said Pompeo.

The German government in Berlin announced on Wednesday last week that a special Bundeswehr laboratory had proven “beyond any doubt” that the 44-year-old Putin opponent in Russia had been poisoned with a chemical agent from the so-called Novitschok group. Since this declaration, tensions between Berlin and Moscow have increased massively.

The Russian government rejects any guilt for the state of health of Navalny, who is being treated in the Charité clinic in Berlin. According to Moscow, no traces of poison were found in Navalny’s body during the previous two-day treatment and examination in a Siberian hospital.

After a conversation with the German ambassador in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that if the Federal Government should not provide the results of the Bundeswehr special laboratory, this would be viewed as a “gross, hostile provocation” that could have consequences for diplomatic relations.

The German government had previously announced that it would not initially hand over the exact laboratory results to Russia. The laboratory results had been sent to the international organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW), of which Russia also belongs, said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Defense. Vice-government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said that the federal government would try to clarify “the next steps” and “all other questions” about the OPCW. The German government does not regard the Navalny case as a bilateral matter.

In an interview with the German ambassador, the Russian government protested against “unfounded accusations and the ultimatums” of Germany. The German government used the Navalny case to “discredit Russia on the international stage,” declared the Foreign Ministry.

The G7 group of states, to which Germany and the US belong, demanded that Russia clarify the Navalny case as quickly as possible on Tuesday evening. Moscow must “urgently” hand over the perpetrators behind the “confirmed poisoning” to the judiciary, according to a joint statement by the foreign ministers. Russia must “create full transparency of who is responsible”. In response, Moscow denounced a “disinformation campaign” intended to serve as a pretext for new sanctions against Moscow.

The EU is considering possible punitive measures against Russia over the Navalny case. The federal government is not ruling out a halt to work on the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, which is to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany.

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