The UK has joined France and Germany to say it would impose economic sanctions on Russia and all of its officials responsible for the poisoning of fierce critic and opposition leader, Alexy Navalny.
The UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said that there was “undeniable evidence” that showed Alexy Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. Russia developed this military-grade nerve agent during the Soviet era.
He further said that despite incontrovertible facts that showed the Russian authorities had a case to answer, no attempt had been made by the Russian government to solve the mystery surrounding the attack.
Raab said that every piece of evidence pointed to the fact that the Russian government had a hand in the current attack.
The foreign secretary’s statement is coming days after the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed from two laboratory tests that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok. Navalny fell ill on a passenger flight to Moscow from the Siberian city of Tomsk on August 20.
The Russian opposition leader was subsequently admitted to a hospital in Germany after he was exposed to the nerve agent.
After that, France and Germany released a joint statement, where it said that they would lead calls to the European Union to sanction Russian individuals who may have been responsible for the appalling attack. Both countries had berated Russia, saying that no credible response had emanated from the Russian authorities since the deadly attack on Navalny took place.
Alexey Navalny is deemed the most prominent face of the opposition since Vladimir Putin took over power in Russia. He is a lawyer, politician, and an anti-corruption activist. He has led street protests against the Russian authorities for years, although he has never confronted Putin in the ballot box directly. He once branded Vladimir Putin’s party “a party of crooks and thieves.”
Navalny rose to national prominence in 2008 when he began blogging about the alleged corruption within Russian state-managed companies. In 2011, he emerged as one of the leaders of the protests that broke out in the country following allegations of massive fraud in that year’s parliamentary elections.
He has been arrested numerous times and was convicted on embezzlement charges, which he denied, saying his travails were politically-motivated. His first conviction came in 2013, just as he was about to run for the mayor of Moscow. However, state prosecutors surprised everyone when they requested that Navalny be freed on bail to enable him to continue with his campaigns for the Mayor of Moscow.
The Russian authorities have strongly denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning. It has offered to cooperate with Germany and other parties involved in investigating the matter.