The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed that Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-type toxin.
The OPCW noted that the particular cholinesterase inhibitor used to poison Navalny is not formally included on its list of banned substances. However, its structural composition resembles four toxic chemicals that were banned by the organization in November 2019.
In response to the OPCW’s conclusions, Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov made the following comment:
“What does ‘structurally similar but different’ mean? What it means is a new substance in the ’Novichok’ family. […] That is, Russia can no longer even say ‘well there were just bottles of Novichok lying around in storage since the 1980s, we can’t keep track of them.’ No, today’s OPCW press release actually confirms that now, in 2020, Russia has an active program to develop new chemical warfare agents of the Novichok class, the wildest violation of any and all international norms and conventions imaginable.”
The German outlets Der Spiegel and Der Zeit previously reported that their sources claimed Navalny had been poisoned with a new, more deadly type of Novchik-class nerve agent.