State Department says US believes Russian FSB used Novichok nerve agent to poison Navalny

“The United States believes that officers from the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) used a Novichok nervous agent to poison Mr. Navalny. There is no plausible explanation for Mr. Navalny’s poisoning other than the Russian government’s involvement and responsibility,” a State Department spokesman said. “Of course, President Putin and the Russian government want us to believe the opposite.”

The spokesman said Russia’s inability to answer questions about Navalny’s poisoning speaks volumes.

“Russia has suggested several conspiracy theories, which are often contradictory,” said the spokesman. “Let’s be clear – these types of conspiracy theories are nothing more than a means of diverting attention from the serious issues facing the Russian government, which it has not yet answered.”

The State Department did not explain why the United States did not inflict any costs on Russia for this poisoning or issued a statement earlier. Wednesday’s statement came after repeated requests for comment from CNN.

An investigation by CNN in cooperation with the investigative journalism website Bellingcat revealed that a team of FSB toxins of about six to 10 agents tracked Navalny for more than three years before he was poisoned in August with the lethal nerve agent.

This report was followed by the revelation of a Russian agent sent to chase Navalny that they planted the nervous agent in his underwear, a detail that emerged when Navalny called the man and, posing as a member of the Russian National Security Council, pressured it for details of the operation.

In September, the National Security Council issued a statement saying that the United States “will work with allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable, wherever the evidence takes them, and to restrict funds for their evil activities”. Both the UK and the European Union imposed sanctions on the Russian authorities for Navalny’s poisoning more than two months ago.

Possible US sanctions have been prepared, according to two sources familiar with the process, but official implementation requires all government approval, which would include the signature of President Donald Trump, who never specifically blamed the Russians for Navalny’s poisoning and tried to minimize the suspicion of Russian responsibility for the recent massive cyberhack that has affected at least half a dozen government agencies and potentially hundreds of private companies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in September that there was a “substantial chance” that the Russians were behind Navalny’s poisoning, but the statement released on Wednesday was more directly behind Russia, named the FSB and said the USA supports the conclusions of the investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). It was not issued in the name of Pompeo.

“The United States has full confidence in the OPCW findings, which confirmed previous results from German, French and Swedish laboratories, that Navalny was exposed to an unscheduled Novichok nerve agent,” said the State Department spokesman on Wednesday. market.