Russian police launch first investigations into Navalny case

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MOSCOW | The Russian police announced Thursday, a week after the facts, to have launched a “preliminary examination” of the case Alexeï Navalny, probable victim of a poisoning according to its German doctors, but a track ruled out so far in Russia.

• Read also: A close friend of Putin promises to “ruin” Navalny

The Russian transport police have launched “preliminary examinations related to the hospitalization of Alexey Navalny on August 20 in Omsk,” the Siberian branch of the Russian Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding the places where he had been were inspected and “more than 100 objects which may have evidential value” seized.

“The hotel room in which he resided” in Tomsk, a city where he was poisoned according to his relatives, was also examined and “the data from video surveillance cameras analyzed,” said this press release.

Reacting to this announcement, the director of the Anti-Corruption Fund, Alexeï Navlany, judged “very strange” that these verifications are taking place so late. “So launch a criminal investigation,” wrote on Twitter Ivan Zhdanov.

Alexei Navalny, 44, who made a name for himself by denouncing the corruption of the Russian elite and in the entourage of Mr. Putin, was admitted to intensive care last week in a hospital in Omsk (Siberia) after being unwell on an airplane.

His entourage immediately denounced poisoning and fought for a medical transfer to Germany, suspecting Russian doctors of trying to cover up the crime. He was eventually transferred to Berlin, where he is in an induced coma, in serious condition although his life is not in danger.

German doctors treating the opponent announced Monday that he had been poisoned by “a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors”, but could not specify which.

These products are likely to be used, at low doses, against Alzheimer’s disease. But depending on the dosage, they can be very dangerous and also produce strong nerve agents, such as the innervating agent Novichok.

– Interview with Putin –

The Kremlin said on Wednesday “total disagreement” with these “hasty formulations”: “How can we speak of poisoning if there is no poison? ”, Declared in particular the spokesman of Vladimir Poutine, Dmitri Peskov.

Mr. Peskov, who never publicly pronounces the name of the opponent, however affirmed that Russia “clearly had an interest in understanding what plunged the patient treated in a Berlin clinic into a coma”.

Berlin, Paris, Washington and London have all asked Moscow to investigate this supposed poisoning.

President Vladimir Putin is due to speak Thursday at 2:00 p.m. local time in an interview with the public channel Rossiya-24 on “current affairs”.

For Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Fund, it was the investigations targeting those close to the Kremlin that resulted in the opponent being poisoned, citing those that targeted a businessman close to the president, Evguéni Prigojine or again the family of Prime Minister Mikhail Michoustine.

Yevgeny Prigojine, usually very discreet and suspected of being linked to a “troll factory” that Washington accuses of electoral interference, and to the opaque group of mercenaries Wagner, on Wednesday promised to “ruin” the opponent in the framework of lawsuits for litigation surrounding a catering company.

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