G7 foreign ministers condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny Wednesday. The statement comes after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called Tuesday for an independent Russian investigation into the poisoning. The G7 foreign ministers plan to follow the investigation efforts closely.
The number of cases of poisoning, or other forms of targeted assassination, of current or former Russian citizens, either within Russia itself or on foreign soil, over the past two decades is profoundly disturbing. And the failure in many cases to hold perpetrators accountable and provide justice for the victims or their families, is also deeply regrettable and hard to explain or justify. … Navalny was clearly someone who needed state protection, even if he was a political thorn in the side of the government. It is not good enough to simply deny he was poisoned, and deny the need for a thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into this assassination attempt. It is incumbent on the Russian authorities to fully investigate who was responsible for this crime – a very serious crime that was committed on Russian soil.
Bachelet announced the investigation after German investigators had concluded that Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok nerve agent.
Prior to international involvement, a Russian court rejected a complaint by Navalny’s allies over the Russian law enforcement’s inaction over the alleged poisoning.
Navalny is a leader in the Russian opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime. He had been previously assaulted, harassed and arrested by Russian authorities and others. Navalny fell ill on a plane traveling from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20 and slipped into a coma at a Serbian hospital. Navalny was transferred to a German hospital and emerged from his coma Tuesday.