Comment by Andrey Biryukov, Russian Chargé d'affaires a.i., published in the Times of Malta on October 9, 2020
We have certainly taken note of the editorial in the “Times of Malta” published on September 28, 2020 calling for additional sanctions against Russia with referrence to Alexey Navalny’s team allegations that “he was poisoned on the orders of President Vladimir Putin”. The same editorial also stated that the tests in Germany, France and Sweden have established that Navalny was poisoned with a chemical agent from a “Novichok” group. Besides that, the author expressed his outrage by the fact that no criminal case had been opened until now.
It is quite possible that the subjective point of view of the editor and his prejudice prevent him from perceiving Russia as a “normal country”. On the other hand, we hope that he as an educated person knows that each country has its own laws which must be respected.
In fact, the true state of affaires is quite different from that described in the article. Since Navalny’s shifting to Germany there have been many allegations against Russia, while official requests from the Russian authorities for legal assistance in determining the presence of evidence of a possible crime remain unanswered. Under Russian law this is an obligatory requirement to open a criminal case. Berlin has not responded to a single request so far except to say that they continue to review them. They have suggested, several times, that we address the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for an explanation. In turn, its directors tell us to address the German Government.
Not only our inquiries for Berlin remain unanswered, but there has been no response to the inquiries of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, which have been addressed to the authorities in Sweden and France.
The Russian Federation has been acting in the most transparent manner in the situation around Alexey Navalny from the very beginning. At the request of relatives, he was promptly granted permission to travel to Germany for medical treatment, which he did without hindrance, once the doctors at the Omsk hospital managed to stabilize his condition. Even though the Russian doctors have not found any trace of poison in the Navalny’s blood, they did not refuse to pass on to their German colleagues the data they had collected on the patient's health condition and were ready to continue to work together for the sake of his speedy recovery. Such behaviour would not be logical if Navalvy was actually poisoned on the instructions of the Russian authorities.
Germany's actions were so well-coordinated that a lot of questions started to surface about whether we are dealing with another staged mystical use of chemical weapons, though now not in Syria and the UK, but in Russia. A number of facts lead to such thoughts, namely: the immediate involvement at the highest level with requests to expeditiously take the blogger to Germany for treatment; the presence of Bundeswehr representatives and specialized vehicles of the German Ministry of Defense during his transportation; involvement in the situation of the top military and political leadership, declaring that the aforementioned «patient» was their «guest». All these organizational issues seem to have been part of a plan to politicize this incident with the clear aim of accusing Russia of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The detection and identification by the laboratories of Germany, France and Sweden of highly toxic chemicals, called «Novichok» in the West, is the evidence in itself that they have long been well-known, studied and produced on high-end technological equipment in a number of NATO and EU countries. In some of them, for example in the US, patents were issued for the military use of this group of chemicals, which is very telling by itself, as well as in the context of the situation around A.Navalny. In this connection, it is quite appropriate to remind that Russia neither develops nor produces chemical weapons anymore as the last chemical round was destroyed in 2017, which was certified by the OPCW.
We agree that good relations between Russia and Europe are important. We also believe that any cooperation should be based on the “two-way street” principle. The language of sanctions will never contribute to the establishment of a constructive partnership and to the strengthening of trust and international stability.
Chargé d'affaires a.i
Embassy of Russia to Malta