UK names Russian intelligence operatives who allegedly poisoned Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAS announced sanctions against seven Russian intelligence operatives who, according to London, participated in the poisoning of the Russian blogger and political activist Alexei Navalny. Navalny, 45, remains in prison after being arrested last year by Russian authorities, who accused him of violating his parole. His arrest occurred as soon as he arrived in Russia from Germany. He had gone there to receive emergency treatment after he was allegedly poisoned during a domestic Russian flight that originated from Siberia.

While in Germany, Navalny was in a comatose condition for over three weeks, and then spent a further 32 days recovering in hospital. Medical examiners concluded that he was most likely poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent. Many Western biomedical experts believe that Navalny, a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned with a so-called Novichok substance —a technical term that describes a category of nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Novichok agents are typically designed to asphyxiate their host by paralyzing the muscles they come in contact with.

On Friday —the day that marked the first anniversary of Navalny’s alleged poisoning— the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced that it would impose sanctions against seven Russian citizens. They were named as: Ivan Osipov, Alexei Sedov, Vladimir Panyaev, Kirill Vasilyev, Vladimir Bogdanov, Alexey Alexandrov and Stanislav Makshakov. All are believed to be employees of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which operates as the country’s primary counterterrorism and counterintelligence agency.

British authorities released a statement to explain their decision to impose the sanctions against the seven Russians. The statement notes that the seven alleged FSB officers were identified using “phone and travel records”. These suggest that they were “involved in the use of a chemical weapon in the attempted assassination of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny during his August 2020 visit to Siberia”, the statement said. In an accompanying statement, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, urged Moscow “to declare its full stock of Novichok nerve agents”. The Russian government has dismissed all allegations that it tried to kill Navalny.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 23 August 2021 | Permalink