Moscow has welcomed OPCW experts to work jointly with Russian specialists on the case of the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said earlier in the day that Moscow has information that Navalny is collaborating with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Following the announcement, the blogger took to his Telegram channel to say he is determined to “file a lawsuit against Peskov” over the statement about his links to the CIA, demanding that Moscow provide “evidence and facts" of his collaboration with Western intelligence.
The bombshell exchange came hours after the Russian opposition figure, who is currently undergoing treatment in Germany, claimed that Vladimir Putin was behind his alleged poisoning.
It earlier emerged that the OPCW had disclosed that it was providing technical assistance to Berlin on the situation around Alexei Navalny, with the Russian Foreign Ministry slamming the move, as the organisation hadn't received Russia's direct consent, which is mandatory, it stressed. The ministry recalled that the Russian Prosecutor General's Office had previously directed three requests to the German authorities "for legal assistance to the Russian side in determining the presence of signs of a possible crime". It said that Germany had suggested "again and again" that Russia ask the OPCW for clarification, but the organisation's leadership, in turn, "refers us on the same occasion to the government of Germany".
Alexei Navalny's Coma
After Navalny was at his family's request transported while still in a coma to a Berlin hospital from Omsk in Russia's Siberia, where he had initially received medical assistance, Germany claimed, citing its lab test results, that he had been poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent that made him collapse on 20 August on board a Moscow-bound plane, half an hour after it took off from Tomsk.
Last month, President Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron during a phone talk that groundless accusations against Moscow regarding the situation with Navalny were unacceptable and that Germany had to share its case materials with Russia so that the matter could effectively be resolved.
Russian doctors found no toxic substances in Navalny's system before he was transported to Germany, adding that Berlin had provided no tangible evidence to ground its claims.
Russia insists that it has not produced any Novichok-group substances since the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) verified the destruction of the country's chemical weapons stocks in the early 1990s.
Alexei Navalny was discharged from the German hospital Charite on 23 September and is expected to soon make a full recovery, after which, he said, he is determined to return to Russia.