Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the general debate of the First Committee
Over the recent days, we have heard quite a lot speculations over the so-called “attempt on the life” of Russian blogger A.Navalny. Let me once again make clear our position on that matter.
What do we know today? A Russian national feels sick onboard of a plane. He is taken to a hospital in the city of Omsk. Analysis of his biological samples shows no traces of CW agents. Doctors save his life, whereafter, upon insistent requests of A.Navalvy’s family and our German colleagues, he departs to complete treatment in Germany.
In some time, a large scandal unfolds in Berlin. A.Navalny is proclaimed to have been poisoned by some “Novichok” substance that, allegedly, only Russia has in possession and that was added in his tea (version #1), applied to his linen (version #2), or to a bottle of water in hotel in Tomsk (version #3 – the chief one at the moment). At the same time, as we see on the video footage, A.Navalvy’s confidants barehandedly tackled the bottle covered in the deadliest of all poisons, and then, bypassing Russian law enforcement agencies, had it transported from the Tomsk hotel to Germany. Though Germany ostensibly had no samples of “Novichok”, it nevertheless stated for sure that it was it, which is technically impossible if you have nothing to compare your samples with. So it turns out Germany has had “Novichok”, just like other Western countries. Apart from this obvious inconsistency, it remains unclear why those who touched this bottle without wearing chemical protection suits did not get poisoned, because, as one tried to convince us, a small drop of this substance would suffice to kill a whole town. Then, if A.Navalny had really been poisoned, why no one else on board of that plane was affected? A question begs itself: was there any poison on the bottle the moment A.Navalny’s people were taking it from the hotel room? Such questions are getting more and more numerous.
Then French and Swedish colleagues (allegedly neither of them having “Novichok”) confirm the German conclusions. Then the OPCW steps in, of which we learn fait accompli, though the whole story revolves around a Russian national. Besides, cholinesterase inhibitors discovered in A.Navalny’s biological samples may have no relation to CW agents, but may result from other factors, including alcohol, energy drinks, heavy medicines or be a sign of chronical diseases (e.g. pancreatitis). Besides, the OPCW itself says that the inhibitors it found are not listed among OPCW-prohibited substances.
In parallel to this, there are calls on Russia to investigate and report as to who and how tried to poison A.Navalny (this assumption is never even doubted), as if we had all it takes to start an investigation. But this is not the case! The bottle with traces of some substance and other material evidence – you have it. A.Navalny himself and his accompanying persons who need to be interrogated also stay with you. I remind: our doctors found no traces in his bio samples. This is the reason why our Office of the Prosecutor General has sent already 4 communications to the German side requesting to share materials of this case. All we got in response was protracted silence, then one formal reply that the “investigation went on”, followed by further accusations. What and how can we investigate in this situation?
Despite alleged heavy poisoning, A.Navalny has quickly recovered and come round. Judging by the comments he eagerly gives to Western media, he suffered no symptoms characteristic of a CW agent poisoning. Whereas, according to experts, those are symptoms that would have left him in a much more serious condition. A.Navalny groundlessly claims that it was almost President Putin personally who poisoned him and feels perfectly at ease in the spotlight of everyone’s attention.
If we for a second imagined it was so, then why let him go to Berlin with all the evidence of the poisoning? Why save his life? Had the goal been to poison, we would poison him! Then, having allegedly poisoned, why didn’t we “clean up” the hotel room from evidence? Finally, why eliminate A.Navalny in such an inconvenient way and share evidence with Germany?
Frankly speaking, the script and the staging are very much similar to those of the notorious “Skripal case” that contains even more discrepancies and logical failures. All our questions remain unanswered. They are ignored as if everything had been proven. I must tell you that nothing is proven. And we are not okay with these situations – neither with the Skripals, nor with Navalny.
So, distinguished German and European colleagues, the ball is in your court. You will not manage to carry on as if nothing happened. You either give us a plausible explanation and cooperate in investigating this incident, or we conclude that this is an ill-intended provocation. Against this backdrop, the sanctions you introduced convince us of that even more.