UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to Twitter to claim that Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny was poisoned and to call for an investigation into his illness.
The poisoning of Alexey @Navalny shocked the world. The UK stands in solidarity with him & his family. We need a full, transparent investigation into what happened. The perpetrators must be held accountable & the UK will join international efforts to ensure justice is done.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 26, 2020
The tweet comes shortly after the Kremlin emphasized that no details about Navalny's condition were available as doctors at the Charite clinic said they did not yet know exactly what substance had caused Navalny's condition.
Earlier in the day, the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Kremlin strongly disagrees with the claims of poisoning, which have not been substantiated so far, and is interested in finding out what happened to Navalny.
"As for various hurried claims that have been so widely used, as in, he is likely to have been poisoned, we are being patient about it but we strongly disagree with this assessment at this stage. What poisoning are we talking about if there is no poisonous substance?" Peskov said.
The spokesman also said that Moscow does not want its relations with the West to suffer because of the situation with Navalny.
"Of course, firstly, we would not want that to happen. Secondly, there are no grounds for that," Peskov said, when asked about the potential negative impact the situation could have on Russia's international ties.
Navalny's Illness: What Happened?
On Saturday, Navalny was flown to the Charite clinic in Berlin. German doctors claimed they found traces of a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors in his body, which Russian doctors denied, citing the patient's test results. They said that no traces of poison had been found and suggested that his condition was caused by an abrupt drop of glucose in his blood due to a metabolic imbalance.
On Wednesday, doctors from the hospital in Omsk, where Navalny was hospitalized after suffering an emergency health condition while on a flight, published an open letter to respond to the criticism that was dumped upon them after his transportation to a German clinic.
"We are witnessing now how supporters of Alexey Navalny make every effort to denigrate those who saved his life. Individuals without medical degrees make diagnoses, theorize about treatment and manipulate information. Meanwhile, none of them witnessed his condition and is familiar with the results of his analyses and tests," the doctors said, adding "In fact, we are faced with such a phenomenon as 'political diagnosis,' which has nothing to do with medicine."
The Russian opposition politician fell ill during a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow on 20 August. Following an emergency landing in Omsk, he was taken to a local hospital — according to the doctors' letter, in just 17 minutes after the landing. For the next 44 hours, doctors waged an uninterrupted struggle for his life, they said.
Shortly after Navalny fell ill, his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, claimed that he could have consumed a poisonous substance that had been mixed into his tea. However, CCTV footage has been shared online from the airport allegedly showing Navalny being handed a cup by his aide Ilya Pakhomov. It has therefore been suggested that whoever prepared the beverage could not have known for whom it was intended.