No Novichok here Pro-Kremlin pundit broadcasts from hotel room where Navalny was poisoned to ‘prove’ that it couldn’t have happened there
During Sunday’s episode of his television show Vesti Nedeli, pro-Kremlin pundit and state media executive Dmitry Kiselyov visited the Tomsk hotel where opposition figure Alexey Navalny stayed the night before he became violently ill from severe poisoning. In a bid to prove that Navalny wasn’t poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent, Kiselyov even spent the night in the same hotel room (or so he claims).
In the episode, Kiselyov walks around in a bathrobe, shaves, explains that his wife had no desire to come with him to Tomsk, and counts the number of water bottles in the room. The water bottle count was Kiselyov’s way showing that the hotel only gives out one bottle of water per guest; since Navalny’s team collected three bottles from his room, “it means that the water was brought in” from outside, he concludes.
The episode was accompanied by an additional report from Salisbury, England, which claimed that the British authorities carefully destroyed all of the items found during the investigation into the Novichok poisoning of ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Kiselyov makes sense of all of this in his final monologue, recorded back at the studio, where he argues that if Navalny had actually been poisoned with a Novichok-type substance, then there’s no way he would have been able to “calmly” get to the airport and wait for the departure of his flight. Kiselyov also calls for an international investigation with the participation of Russian doctors and insists that Navalny provide a blood sample — otherwise, “there was no poisoning, and the pain and fainting were caused by the intrinsic state of the Berlin patient’s health.” According to Kiselyov, the entire story of Navalny’s poisoning is supposedly a pretense for the introduction of new sanctions against Russia.
Alexey Navalny responded to the segment on Twitter: “I didn’t even wear the robe. If it’s been hanging there since those times, I suggest that Dmitry Kiselyov stop by the pharmacy for atropine,” he said, referring to a common antidote for nerve agent poisoning.
Kiselyov maintains that the absurd plot of the episode filmed in Tomsk was “a kind of experiment,” which should confirm that reports of Navalny’s Novichok poisoning are “complete nonsense.” In a comment to the outlet Podyom, Kiselyov explained that flying to Tomsk was his idea — he wanted to make the poisoning story “even more absurd.”