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UPDATE 1-UK says Russian spies almost certainly behind Navalny poisoning

Wed, 16th Sep 2020 17:23

(Adds quotes, background)

WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Britain said on Wednesday
that Russia had a case to answer over the poisoning of Alexei
Navalny as it was almost certain that Russian intelligence
services carried out the attack with a Soviet-developed chemical
weapon known as Novichok.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, speaking in Washington
alongside Mike Pompeo, said he welcomed Navalny's recovery but
that Russia had a case to answer as the use of a chemical weapon
was unacceptable.

"The Russian government is duty bound to explain what
happened to Mr Navalny," Raab said.

"From the UK's point of view, very difficult to see any
plausible alternative explanation to this being carried out by
the Russian intelligence services, but certainly the Russian
government has a case to answer," Raab said.

Navalny shared a photograph from a Berlin hospital on
Tuesday, sitting up in bed and surrounded by his family, and
said he could now breathe independently after being poisoned in
Siberia last month.

The leading opponent of President Vladimir Putin, fell
violently sick while campaigning on Aug. 20 and was airlifted to
Berlin.

Germany says laboratory tests in three countries have
determined he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, and
Western governments have demanded an explanation from Russia.

Moscow has called the accusations groundless.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by
William James)

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