Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Water bottles are seen in a hotel room where Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny stayed during his recent visit in the Siberian city of Tomsk, in this still image from a social media video obtained by Reuters on Sept. 17, 2020.

SOCIAL MEDIA/Reuters

The Kremlin accused colleagues of opposition leader Alexey Navalny on Friday of hampering a Russian investigation by taking items from his hotel room out of the country, including a water bottle the colleagues claimed had traces of the Soviet nerve agent that German authorities said was used to poison Mr. Navalny.

Mr. Navalny’s colleagues revealed Thursday that they removed the bottle and other items from the hotel room in Siberia and brought them to Germany as potential evidence because they didn’t trust Russian authorities to conduct a proper probe after the Kremlin’s arch foe became critically ill on a flight to Moscow.

“Regrettably, what could have been evidence of poisoning was taken away,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Navalny, the most visible opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell ill on the domestic flight on Aug. 20 and was transferred to Germany for treatment at his wife’s request two days later. A German military lab later determined that Mr. Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, the same class of Soviet-era agent that Britain said was used on a former Russian spy and his daughter in England in 2018.

Members of the Navalny team said they searched his hotel room in the city of Tomsk upon learning that he collapsed on the flight home. They said they packed half-empty plastic water bottles and other items and sent them to Germany for further inspection to help investigate what they suspected to be his poisoning.

Mr. Navalny’s colleagues said Thursday that a German laboratory subsequently found a trace of Novichok on a bottle from his hotel room. Top associate Georgy Alburov noted that the German experts concluded that the bottle did not contain the Novichok that Mr. Navalny consumed, saying he likely transferred a tiny trace of the toxic substance behind when he drank from the container after having already been poisoned.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the German lab conducted tests on “various samples from Mr. Navalny,” but neither she nor other German officials haven’t given details of what samples were tested. The German government had no comment Friday on the Navalny team’s statement that Novichok was found on the water bottle taken from Russia.

Germany has said that independent tests by labs in France and Sweden backed up the military lab’s findings.

The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is also having samples from Mr. Navalny tested. German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said those tests were still continuing and Germany had not received any results.

The Kremlin reiterated that before Mr. Navalny’s transfer to Charite Hospital in Berlin, Russian labs and a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk found no sign of a poisoning. Moscow has called for Germany to provide its evidence and bristled at the urging from Ms. Merkel and other Western leaders to answer questions about what happened to the politician.

Story continues below advertisement

“There is too much absurdity in this case to take anyone at their word,” Mr. Peskov said Friday.

The Kremlin spokesman charged that Germany and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have pointed to the other when Russia demanded access to the analyses and samples that allegedly demonstrated his poisoning.

“The OPCW’s technical secretariat tells us, ‘We don’t know anything, turn to the Germans,’ and the Germans tell us, `We don’t know anything, turn to the OPCW,”' he said.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, suggested Friday without offering any evidence that Western spy agencies could have poisoned Mr. Navalny to pave way for new sanctions against Russia.

Asked if the Kremlin agreed with Mr. Volodin’s theory, Mr. Peskov replied, “We can neither agree nor disagree” with the claim. “The only way to shed light on this incident is to share information, biomaterials and evidence and to work together in analyzing the situation,” he said.

Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters Friday that Germany was in contact with its European partners regarding the consequences Russia might face.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have urgently asked Russia to explain itself on this matter, and this demand continues to stand,” he said.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies