White House 'deeply troubled', UK wants Russia to 'explain' Navalny poisoning

The comments came after doctors treating Navalny in Berlin said the critic of Vladimir Putin was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Picture: Facebook.com.

WASHINGTON/LONDON – The White House said Wednesday it is "deeply troubled" by confirmation in Germany that Alexei Navalny, one of the rare outspoken critics of President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned in Russia.

"Alexei Navalny's poisoning is completely reprehensible," National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said on Twitter, noting that the poison was Novichok, a nerve agent used by Russia in the past.

"We will work with allies and the international community to hold those in Russia accountable, wherever the evidence leads, and restrict funds for their malign activities," he said.

"The Russian people have a right to express their views peacefully without fear of retribution of any kind, and certainly not with chemical agents."

UK'S JOHNSON SAYS RUSSIA MUST 'EXPLAIN' NAVALNY POISONING

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday it was "outrageous" Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny had been poisoned with a nerve agent and urged Moscow to "explain" what had happened.

"We have seen first-hand the deadly consequences of Novichok in the UK," Johnson said on Twitter, shortly after Germany said Navalny had been poisoned with the highly toxic Soviet-era chemical.

The same type of nerve agent was used in Britain against ex-double agent Sergei Skripal, in an attack London blamed on Russia but Moscow denied any involvement in.

"The Russian government must now explain what happened to Mr Navalny -- we will work with international partners to ensure justice is done," Johnson said.

Britain's Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a separate statement that Russia "must tell the truth" about what had occurred.

"The Russian government has a clear case to answer. It must tell the truth about what happened to Mr Navalny," Raab added.

The comments came after doctors treating Navalny in Berlin said the critic of Vladimir Putin was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent.

The 44-year-old fell ill after boarding a plane in Siberia last month.

He was initially treated in a local hospital before being flown to Berlin for treatment.

Novichok is a military-grade poison that was developed by the Soviet government towards the end of the Cold War.

Skripal was poisoned in the southern English town of Salisbury in March 2018, along with his daughter Yulia.

British authorities said Novichok was used in that attack.

The Skripals survived but a local woman, Dawn Sturgess, died after coming into contact with the poison which police believe had been disposed of following the attack on the Russians.

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