Connect with us

image copyrightReuters

There is “unequivocal proof” that Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, Germany has said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was a victim of attempted murder and the world would look to Russia for answers.

Mr Navalny was airlifted to Berlin in a coma after falling ill on a flight in Russia’s Siberia region last month.

His team says he was poisoned on President Vladimir Putin’s orders. The Kremlin has dismissed the allegation.

The Kremlin spokesman called on Germany for a full exchange of information and foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova complained the Novichok allegations were not backed up by evidence. “Where are the facts, where are the formulas, at least some kind of information?” she asked.

A Novichok nerve agent was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018. While they survived, a British woman later died in hospital. The UK accused Russia’s military intelligence of carrying out that attack.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the latest attack as “outrageous”. “The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done,” he tweeted.

What has Germany said?

After the government in Berlin released results of toxicology tests carried out at a military laboratory, Chancellor Merkel said there were now “serious questions that only the Russian government can and must answer”.

“Someone tried to silence [Mr Navalny] and in the name of the whole German government I condemn that in the strongest terms.”

Chancellor Merkel said Germany’s Nato and EU partners had been informed of the results of the investigation and they would decide on a common and appropriate response based on Russia’s reaction.

Mr Navalny’s wife Yulia Navalnaya and Russia’s ambassador to Germany would also be informed of the findings, the Berlin government said.

What happened to Navalny?

Mr Navalny fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. His supporters suspect poison was placed in a cup of tea at Tomsk airport.

The flight of the prominent Putin critic was diverted to Omsk, where doctors treated him for three days before he was transferred to the Charité hospital in Berlin.

image copyrightReuters
image captionMr Navalny’s transfer to Germany came after three days in hospital in Omsk

The Kremlin says Russian doctors administered atropine – which can be used to treat the effects of nerve agents – but found no evidence of poisoning.

Mrs Navalnaya said she feared Russian doctors had delayed his transfer as authorities were trying to wait for evidence of any chemical substance to disappear.

Doctors at Charité hospital have said his condition is continuing to improve but he remains in an intensive care unit on a ventilator.

What is Novichok?

The name Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian, and applies to a group of advanced nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s.

media captionLaura Foster explains how the Novichok nerve agent works

Novichok agents have similar effects to other nerve agents – they act by blocking messages from the nerves to the muscles, causing a collapse of many bodily functions.

While some Novichok agents are liquids, others are thought to exist in solid form. This means they can be dispersed as an ultra-fine powder.

Novichoks were designed to be more toxic than other chemical weapons, so some versions begin to take effect rapidly – in the order of 30 seconds to two minutes.

In 2018, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left critically ill in the British city of Salisbury, after Russian suspects were alleged to have smeared the nerve agent on the door handle of the former Russian spy’s home.

Dawn Sturgess, 44, was later exposed to the same nerve agent and died in hospital. Her partner became critically ill but recovered.

Who is Navalny?

Mr Navalny is an anti-corruption campaigner who has led nationwide protests against the Russian authorities. He has called Mr Putin’s party a place of “crooks and thieves” that is “sucking the blood out of Russia”.

However, he has been banned from standing against Mr Putin in elections because of a conviction for embezzlement. He denies the crime, saying his legal troubles are Kremlin reprisals for his fierce criticism.

There have been a number of previous attacks on high-profile critics or opponents of President Putin, including politicians, intelligence officers and journalists. The Kremlin has always denied involvement.

Who else has been poisoned?

In 2006, Alexander Litvinenko – an ex-Russian intelligence officer who became a Kremlin critic and fled to the UK – died after his tea was poisoned by radioactive polonium-210.

More recently, journalist and opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza alleged he was poisoned twice by Russian security services. He nearly died after suffering kidney failure in 2015 and two years later went into a coma for a week.

Another Kremlin critic, Pyotr Verzilov, accused Russia’s intelligence services of poisoning him in 2018, when he fell ill after a court hearing, losing his sight and ability to speak. He too was treated by Berlin’s Charité hospital, and asked the Berlin-based Cinema for Peace Foundation to arrange Mr Navalny’s airlift there.

Related Topics

  • Alexei Navalny

  • Germany
  • Russia



Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

Pelosi: Covid relief deal could still happen before Election Day

20201025 nancypelosi gty 773

On Friday, Pelosi told CNN she sent Mnuchin a list of concerns “that we still had about ‘what is the answer?'”

“My understanding is he will be reviewing that over the weekend, and we will have some answers on Monday,” she said Sunday.

Pelosi said she’ll not hold out to see whether Democrats win the White House and the Senate and keep the House after in the Nov. 3 elections to pursue a bill more to Democrats’ liking. Instead, she said she’ll continue working to get a relief bill passed “as soon as possible.”

The speaker went on to say that a relief bill could be passed as soon as this week in the House, but that it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whether it would go to the Senate floor.

McConnell has largely steered clear of stimulus talks recently and many GOP senators are opposed to the $2 trillion deal being discussed by Pelosi and Mnuchin. On Tuesday, McConnell softened his stance a bit, saying he would allow the Senate to vote on a Pelosi-Mnuchin agreement — assuming that first Trump agrees to sign it.

Earlier Sunday on CNN, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said, “We’ve identified those Senate Republicans most likely to vote” for the relief deal to pass. But he said Republicans will not blindly pass the bill without first reading its terms fully.

“We are not Nancy Pelosi. We are not going to vote or opine on a bill and pass it before we have read it,” he said.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

one man’s reflections on what has gone wrong with ‘the family’

Gisela Stuart PA 24071889 lrrudd

Jeremy Corbyn is elected as the new leader of Labour Party, September 2015: Forde barely hides his contempt for the MPs ‘who put a Marxist on the ballot paper’. | PA Images


4 min read

At times searing in his criticism of those he holds responsible for trashing the prospects of the Labour party, Gisela Stuart finds Matt Forde’s new book both entertaining and insightful

Matt Forde’s “Politically Homeless” is like an episode from the Archers’ in the early months of the lockdown. One man’s reflections on what has gone wrong with “the family”. To be fair to Forde, unlike the Archers, he does make you laugh.

We often think of political parties as families, and there is a reason for that. We like some members more than others, every so often we have a big row, but eventually we find a way of rubbing along. And we have secrets; things which we either all know to be true, but we would rather not talk about or which we hope will go away if we ignore them long enough.  Even when things get really bad, we rarely pack our bags and, move in with the family on the other side of the road.  

Matt Forde is as entertaining as he is insightful and like many of us, he wants to get back to the days when Labour was in government, invested in Sure Start centres, schools and hospitals, introduced a national minimum wage and ended boom and bust.

Every MP or party activist who has ever screamed and shouted at Regional Office for not doing this, that or the other, would benefit from Forde’s take on what it is like to be a regional organiser. The joys and tribulations of by-elections, ministerial visits, and photo calls. Needs must, and if that means dressing up as a chicken and stalking Charles Kennedy, then so be it. He is generous in naming some MPs he’s worked with who genuinely cared about their constituents and even occasionally said “Thank you”. He thought the late Tessa Jowell “made you behave better by her just being there” and he is right.

Every MP or party activist who has ever screamed and shouted at Regional Office for not doing this, that or the other, would benefit from Forde’s take on what it is like to be a regional organiser

But he is searing in his criticism of the string of events which started with Ed Miliband trashing the achievements of the Blair/Brown governments and culminated with the party electing Jeremy Corbyn as its leader. He barely hides his contempt for the MPs who put a Marxist on the ballot paper. He wonders if those who did so to “broaden the debate” were gutted because they couldn’t find a fascist.

Anyone who is still in doubt about the mountain Labour has to climb only needs to read his chapter on Stoke on Trent. A collection of six towns, represented by three Labour MPs, where the local council was so divided that a grand coalition of Britain’s three biggest political parties could only muster a majority of one against a collection of BNP and independent councillors who were either hard-left ex-Labour or had never been part of any political party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party hoped that by ignoring the stain of antisemitism, which became attached to the party as a whole, it would just somehow go away, which of course it didn’t. But there is an even bigger secret much of today’s Labour Party tries to not talk about. It is the simple fact that the whole point of a political party is to win elections. If you are not in power then you can’t make the changes necessary to help the people you claim to care about.

Jacqui Smith, when she was chief whip, used to remind MPs that the “worst day in government was better than the best day in opposition”. Entertaining as opposition might be, it can’t be your purpose.

It’s unlikely that we’ll be able to have a good heart-to-heart with our friends about the state of the party, drown our sorrows with a glass of wine and have a good laugh, but we can give each other Forde’s book as a Christmas present.

Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston is a Non-Affiliated peer and was Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston 1997-2017

Politically Homeless by Matt Forde is published by Quercus

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Politics

Nasa moon announcement: What is on the Moon?

p08wh67j

The US space agency, Nasa, has revealed conclusive evidence of water on the Moon.

Unlike previous detections of water in permanently shadowed parts of lunar craters, scientists have now detected the molecule in sunlit regions of the Moon’s surface.

Nasa has said it will send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024.

But what does this new discovery mean for this mission and future missions to the Moon?

What else is on the surface of the Moon?

BBC Science Correspondent Laura Foster explains.

Video by Laura Foster, Terry Saunders and Mattea Bubalo.

Source link

0
Continue Reading

Trending