An improved, more potent version of a Novichok substance found in the body of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny indicates that only Russian security services could have poisoned him. This is the conclusion reached by the German security authorities, SPIEGEL reports.
"The toxin used against Navalny is a further enhancement of the previously known compositions of the Novichok nerve agent. This poison is even heavier than previous forms," Federal Intelligence Service (BND) President Bruno Kahl said at a secret meeting.
The publication notes that for the German government, the composition of the toxin is the most important indicator that Russian President Vladimir Putin could have been involved in this case. It is generally accepted that the more complex, newer and less frequent the chemical composition of the poison, the more likely it is that it could only be obtained with the help of the state apparatus of Russia.
Currently, German security authorities assume that only Russian special services could have poisoned Navalny on the way to the airport or at the airport itself.
The criminals expected Navalny to die on board the plane. Only the bold intervention of the pilot, who made a spontaneous forced landing in Omsk, and the subsequent treatment of Navalny with an antidote at a local hospital, saved his life.
The Kremlin categorically denies involvement in the attempted murder. Instead, Moscow accuses the federal government of wanting to politicize the case. On Friday, Moscow demanded that Russian investigators question Navalny in Berlin.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is also involved in the investigation. According to SPIEGEL, an OPCW delegation visited the Charite Hospital in Berlin over the weekend and obtained biomaterials samples from the poisoned politician for further investigation.
On the morning of August 20, Alexei Navalny was returning to Moscow from Tomsk. During the flight, the politician became ill, because of which the plane made an emergency landing in Omsk. The Russian oppositionist was hospitalized in serious condition.
On August 21, doctors at the Omsk hospital allowed Navalny to be transported to Germany.
Subsequently, on September 2, a special laboratory of the Bundeswehr conducted a toxicological test of biological samples of Alexei Navalny and concluded that the Russian politician had been poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group.