German authorities have opened an investigation into suspected poisoning after a Russian journalist and activist in exile mentioned having health problems following a meeting of dissidents in Berlin, police told AFP on Sunday.
“Investigations are ongoing,” a Berlin police spokesman said.confirming the information in the newspaper Die Welt published on Saturday night, but without giving further details about the procedure.
Russian investigative outlet Agentstvo this week noted the health problems of two participants at a meeting of Russian dissidents on April 29-30 organized by businessman and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
One participant, identified as a journalist who recently left Russia, he had unspecified symptoms during the event, and stated that they could have started earlier.
The outlet added that the journalist went to the Charité hospital in Berlin, where Russian opponent Alexei Navalny was treated, victim of poisoning in August 2020.
The second participant mentioned is Natalia Arno, director of the NGO Free Russia Foundation in the United States, where she has lived for 10 years after leaving Russia.
Arno was in Berlin at the end of April, before going to Prague, where he experienced the symptoms and discovered that his hotel room had been opened, according to Agentstvo.
The next day he left for the United States, where he contacted a hospital and the authorities.
This week, Arno posted a message on Facebook explaining that he felt “shooting pains” and “numbness”, stating that the first “strange symptoms” they appeared before arriving in Prague. He added that he still has symptoms, but is doing better.
In recent years, several poison attacks have been perpetrated, abroad and in Russia, against opponents of the Kremlin. Moscow denies that its secret services are responsible.
In Navalny’s case, European laboratories confirmed the use of Novichok, a nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union.