President Vladimir Putin's spokesman brushed off allegations Thursday that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning the Russian leader's most determined critic, accusing Germany of not providing Moscow with any evidence about the condition of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.
Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator, fell ill on a flight to Moscow on Aug. 20 and was taken to a hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk. He has been in an induced coma in a Berlin hospital after being flown from Siberia to Germany for treatment more than a week ago.
German authorities said Wednesday that tests showed “proof without doubt" that he had been poisoned with a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group. British authorities identified the Soviet-era Novichok as the poison used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted Thursday that Russian authorities still had not received any evidence from Germany to back up their allegation.
“We haven’t received any information so far," Peskov said. “We hope that it will happen soon and will help figure out what caused the condition the patient is in right now.”
Peskov reiterated that Russian specialists in Omsk tested Navalny for poisonous substances and didn't find any in his system. He said Russian investigators conducting a preliminary inquiry into Navalny’s illness should know “what our German colleagues found and established.”
Following his stay in Omsk, Navalny was moved two days later to Berlin’s Charite hospital after German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally offered the country's assistance in treating him. He's now in stable condition, but doctors expect a long recovery and haven't ruled out that the 44-year-old Navalny could face long-term effects to his health.