Russian Federation right of reply at the 97 session of the executive council
We have noted the continued insinuation of a number of NATO countries regarding the «poisoning» of Mr Navalny with a certain military-grade toxic agent. This issue has become a steadfast regular anti-Russian talking point that must, apparently, be «worked over» at each session of the managing bodies of the OPCW. And it is no surprise: too much energy has been put into «hyping up» this subject.
It is clear that, in fact, the self-proclaimed «warriors against impunity» are not expecting any investigation with the Russian side. All of their actions, contrary to their allegations, reveal that it is their task to keep this issue at the forefront in order to exert further political and economic pressure on our country. The Euro-Atlantic allies, believing themselves to be judges and prosecutors, long ago named the guilty parties and imposed sanctions against them. Now, they stubbornly try to cover up their tracks and prevent by any means the truth from coming out.
So, the German law enforcement agencies have not responded with substance to any of the eight communications from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation regarding the provision of international legal assistance in the situation with Mr Navalny. The situation is similar with France and Sweden. The requests of the Russian Federation under Articles VII and IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention remain unsatisfied, although it is stipulated that States Parties shall afford legal assistance and adopt measures to clarify any ambiguity through consultations and the exchange of information.
We would recall that the information and materials we requested are necessary to complete the preliminary investigation conducted by Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs into the reasons for the emergency hospitalisation of a Russian citizen in Omsk on 20 August 2020. Without it, in accordance with Russian legislation, the opening of a potential criminal case is impossible. Our colleagues know this and, nevertheless, intentionally hide data that they allegedly have in their possession.
We categorically reject the distortion of causal relationships based on the OPCW Technical Secretariat's breakdown of negotiations on the modalities via which Russia could be provided with technical assistance under paragraph 38(e) of Article VIII of the Convention. We see the key task of this kind of assistance as collaboration with OPCW experts to analyse the samples collected from Mr Navalny in Omsk, and to compare them with the analysis results obtained through the OPCW. This would help clarify the main questions: where, how, and under what circumstances did the chemicals detected outside of the Russian Federation make their way into the blogger’s biomaterial. We are deeply concerned that the parameters for a planned visit have been declined.
New blind spots, ambiguities, interpretations, and inconsistencies continue to emerge in what clearly is an orchestrated story that is not without outside involvement.
The information contained in the draft report on the implementation of the Convention in 2020 (EC-97/CRP.1, dated 17 May 2021) essentially confirms that what took place with the Russian blogger was the result of a provocation that was carefully planned outside of Russia. In paragraph 1.41, it clearly states that the Technical Secretariat, at Germany's request, deployed a group to provide technical assistance in connection with the suspected poisoning of a Russian citizen back on 20 August 2020! That is to say, exactly the time when Mr Navalny, located on-board flight number 2614 of the Russian airline S7 on the Tomsk – Moscow route, began to display the first signs of deteriorating health and was subsequently hospitalised in Omsk. We demand a sensible explanation as to how that is possible and why States Parties were previously misled regarding the Secretariat's deployment of specialists to Germany on only 4 and 5 September 2020.
In light of all of the above, we view any claims and demands made of us regarding any investigation into the incident with Mr Navalny as absolutely unsubstantiated, hypocritical, and leading to even more politicisation of the work of the OPCW. It is time to put an end to this. At the same time, the Russian side confirms its readiness to return to collaborating to clarify all of the circumstances of what took place with a Russian citizen after the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as France and Sweden, fulfil their obligations under the Convention and cooperation in the field of international law enforcement, and submit to us the requested information and material evidence.
We request that this statement be circulated as an official document of the Ninety-Seventh Session of the Council and published on the Organisation's extranet and website.