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Navalny calls on Trump to condemn poison used against him


OCTOBER 14, 2020

Recovering from a near-fatal poisoning, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny calls on President Trump to join other leaders in condemning the banned chemical weapon he says the Russian leader Vladimir Putin used to attack him. Navalny speaks to Lesley Stahl in his first U.S. television interview since being poisoned eight weeks ago with the nerve agent Novichok on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, October 18 at 7 p.m., ET/PT on CBS.   

Stahl spoke with Navalny and his wife Yulia this week in Berlin, where he was recovering from the deadly substance the German military and independent labs in Sweden and France confirmed was the highly potent nerve agent Novichok. It is thought to be 10 times more powerful than sarin. Asked if he thinks Putin directed the attack, Navalny replies, “I don’t think. I’m sure that he is responsible.”

The presence of Novichok in Navalny’s blood led to a call for European Union sanctions against individual Russians deemed responsible and condemnations from French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The Trump administration has yet to echo their statements. “I have noticed [Trump] didn’t,” he tells Stahl. “I think it’s extremely important– that everyone… maybe… first of all, president of United States, to be very again[st] using chemical weapons in the 21st Century,” says Navalny.

He believes the Novichok attack on him wasn’t only meant to kill him but to terrify others. “It’s a banned substance. I think Putin… he’s using this chemical weapon… [to]both kill me and, you know, terrify others. It’s something really scary,” he tells Stahl. “Where the people just drop dead… no gun… no shots… you’ll be dead and without any traces on your body. It’s something terrifying. And Putin is enjoying it,” says Navalny.”

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the accusation is “completely baseless and unacceptable.”

Says Navalny, “They deny everything. Because it means that they still have this Novichok. They’re not just violating [the chemical weapons ban] with keeping it. They… continue to improve it.”

Navalny was taken to a Berlin hospital by air ambulance after a Russian hospital, which said he was not poisoned, released him after two days. “They thought that after 48 hours, this poison would be untraceable,” says Navalny.

Courtesy/Source: CBS News