Moscow has dismissed a report by Parisian newspaper Le Monde claiming President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that Russian “internet troublemaker” Alexey Navalny may have poisoned himself.
“The newspaper is absolutely incorrect in its wording,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday. Peskov was referring to a report, on Tuesday, by the French daily claiming some insights into the content of talks between Putin and the French president.
Le Monde claimed it had obtained the sensitive information from anonymous sources. Which, if true, would be a serious violation of diplomatic rules.
The article alleged that Putin had referred to the opposition figure as an “internet troublemaker,” who’d previously simulated an illness and who could have poisoned himself for some unclear reasons.
It went on to also describe the phone exchange, which took place on September 14, as a “dialogue of the deaf” and said that the official statements issued by the two nations had related the content of the conversation “only in part.”
Peskov, in turn, noted that the paper had “no way” to gain access to the transcript of the talks between the two leaders, as this would mean some French officials in the presidential administration deliberately leaked it to the press. “That is at odds with diplomatic practices and we are confident that it is not the case,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
Moscow confirmed that the two leaders did discuss the poisoning of Navalny and Russia “never made a secret of it.” Peskov also admitted that Putin and Macron “do not always agree” but this fact does not prevent them from engaging in a “productive dialogue.”
Germany claimed that Navalny was poisoned by a substance called ‘Novichok’ – an infamous nerve agent previously used in an attack on the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. The allegations emerged after the activist was transferred for treatment to the renowned Berlin Charité clinic, following his initial hospitalization in Russia.
The news immediately sparked uproar among the establishment in the European Union and North America. Paris – along with Berlin, London and Washington – condemned what it called the use of a chemical weapon against Navalny and demanded Russia launch a “transparent” investigation into the case, while also threatening Moscow with sanctions.
Russia, in turn, has repeatedly stated it is ready to cooperate with Germany on the probe into Navalny’s poisoning. Moscow filed a formal request asking Berlin to share its data, which it says the German side has still not provided.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, Navalny was discharged from clinic on Wednesday morning. His condition continues to improve and the German doctors say his “full recovery” from the alleged poisoning is quite possible.
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