Boris slams 'outrageous' Novichok poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny with same agent used in Salisbury attack

BORIS Johnson has slammed the "outrageous" poisoning of Putin critic Alexei Navalny after it was revealed he was given the same nerve agent used in Salisbury.

Navalny was poisoned and fell critically ill while on a plane back to Moscow from Tomsk after he was seen drinking tea in the airport's cafe.

Navalny, 44, survived the attack but remains in a coma.

German officials said toxicology tests of blood samples from Navalny conducted at a military lab produced "unequivocal evidence" he was poisoned with Novichok.

The nerve agent is same one which was used to poison MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 3, 2018.

Boris Johnson tonight branded the poisoning "outrageous" and demanded Russia explain what happened.

The PM blasted: "It’s outrageous that a chemical weapon was used against Alexey Navalny.

"We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of Novichok in the UK.

"The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny – we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done."

Sergei and Yulia were left fighting for their lives after the nerve agent was daubed on the doorknob of his home.

It also poisoned hero cop Sgt Nick Bailey, and locals Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess – with the mum-of-three dying from exposure to the toxin.

The revelation will put further pressure on the Putin's regime who have denied all involvement in the mysterious sickness.

Germany has said it will inform its partners in the European Union and NATO about the test results. 

Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia.

"The federal government condemns this attack in the strongest terms."

He added:"[Germany] will discuss an appropriate joint response with the partners in the light of the Russian response."

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was "deeply concerned" by the use of Novichock and urged the Kremlin to "tell the truth" about what happened to Navalny.

He said: "It is absolutely unacceptable that this banned chemical weapon has been used again, and once more we see violence directed against a leading Russian opposition figure.

“The Russian government has a clear case to answer. It must tell the truth about what happened to Mr Navalny.

"We will work closely with Germany, our allies and international partners to demonstrate that there are consequences for using banned chemical weapons anywhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, a Kremlin spokesman said Germany had not informed it that it believed Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok.

Novichok is a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.

Nalavny's pal Leonid Volkov said: "Poisoning Navalny with Novichok is exactly the same as leaving an autograph at the crime scene."

British spooks have said Novichok was used to poison the Skripals in a brazen attacks two years ago.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement, and even outrageously accused the UK of staging the attack.


Experts have previously said Russia favours the use of poison for its "easy deniability" and its "vicious theatricality".

Mark Galeotti, a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Foreign Policy: "Even while the murderer denies any role, perhaps with a sly wink, the victim dies a horrific and often lengthy death.

"A message in a poison bottle."

John Sipher, who spent 28 years working with the CIA, said: "The Kremlin has a long, ugly history of intimidating and killing those who they see as a threat to the state."

Navalny was filmed screaming as he was taken ill on the flight and left fighting for his life on a ventilator at a hospital in Omsk.

Russian doctors had insisted the sickness was either down to booze or low blood sugar.

But his allies have said all along they believe he was poisoned as part of an assassination attempt by the Kremlin.

Navalny is one of Putin's most high profile critics – being described as the man Vlad "fears most" by the Wall Street Journal in 2012.

Russian officials had initially refused to allow Navalny to be flown to Germany to receive treatment – before allowing it after two days.

His spokeswoman accused Moscow of using the delay as a ploy to allow the poison to pass through his system.

Dr Alexander Murakhovsky said Navalny most likely suffered a metabolic disorder and lost consciousness due to a drop in blood sugar.

Putin’s suspected poison victims

EIGHT enemies of Vladimir Putin have been suspiciously taken ill in suspected poisonings since 2004.

Anna Politkovskaya – Poisoned after drinking tea given to her by an Aeroflot flight attendant in September 2004. She was later shot dead in Moscow in October 2006.

Viktor Yushchenko – Left disfigured after consuming food laced with chemical TCDD also in September 2004. Managed to recover and win the Ukrainian presidency on a pro-West platform – serving from 2005 to 2010

Alexander Litvinenko – Died after being poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in November 2006. Blamed Putin for the attack on his deathbed.

Vladimir Kara-Murza  – Taken ill after suspected to have been poisoned on an Aeroflot plane in May 2015. He was then believed to be poisoned again in February 2017.

Pyotr Verzilov – Hospitalised after becoming ill in Moscow after visiting court proceedings against anti-Putin band Pussy Riot on Setepmber 12, 2018.

Sergei Skripal – Found critically ill on a bench in Salisbury after believed to have been poisoned with Russia-developed nerve agent Novchok on March 4, 2018.

Yulia Skripal – Taken ill alongside her dad on the same day. Both spent weeks fighting for their life in hospital in a brazen attack that shocked the UK.

Alexei Navalny – Left screaming and violently ill after he is believed to have drunk poison tea before boarding a flight in Tomsk on August 20, 2020.

Navalny’s family members were told that they had to accept responsibility for any outcome that could result from moving him to Germany. 

He campaigned to run against Putin in the 2018 presidential election but was prevented from taking part in the contest.

After that, he began backing opposition candidates in regional elections and challenging officials of United Russia, which is the ruling party. 

A vocal critic of Putin, Navalny has worked to expose government corruption in Russia and has served a number of jail terms.

Putin's regime has always denied or dismissed all allegations that it is behind a campaign of poisonings and assassinations against its critics.

Other critics have also been killed in mysterious circumstances, such as being shot or found strangle.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to join "international efforts to ensure justice is done" and called for a "transparent" investigation.

He said: "We saw what happened with Alexander Litvinenko, what happened to Sergei and Yulia Skripal in our country."

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