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West Demands Answers From Russia Over Navalny Poisoning At Chemical Weapons Watchdog

The headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at the The Hague, the Netherlands. (file photo)

A group of 45 countries including the United States, Britain, and Germany have demanded at the global chemical weapons watchdog that Russia provide answers about the poisoning of jailed opposition figure Aleksei Navalny.

Western countries on October 5 gave a list of questions to Russia at a meeting of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the global body responsible for implementation of and compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

"The United States and many in the international community have long sought clarity on Russia's attempted assassination of Mr. Navalny with a chemical weapon on August 20, 2020, and whether it intends to cooperate with the OPCW," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

"Russia’s continued lack of transparency and cooperation surrounding the poisoning is particularly concerning," the State Department added.

Under CWC rules, Russia is required to provide a response within 10 days.

Moscow has repeatedly denied involvement in the poisoning.

The United States and its Western allies have concluded that agents with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) poisoned Navalny with a Novichok-type nerve agent while he was on a trip in Siberia in August 2020.

The Kremlin-critic has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering the attack, which forced him to receive life-saving treatment in Germany.

Upon his returned to Russia in January, he was arrested and later sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison on charges that his supporters say are politically motivated.

In recent months, Russia has carried out a wide-ranging crackdown against Navalny's political network and Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which has been exposing alleged graft among Russia’s political and business elites for years.

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