“All this news is funny to read, but it says only one thing — or rather the manner in which this news is presented says only one thing — that our Western partners do not have any ethical standards and lack skill in normal diplomatic work, and [have] unwillingness to comply with the international legal norms when it comes to finding the facts,” Lavrov added.
“And the [West’s] logic here: ‘Look, we have announced… new facts that were discovered by the German special services about the Navalny poisoning, and Moscow has been silent for two days — if it is silent, it means it is guilty.’ The flaw in this approach, in my opinion, is obvious to any sane person,” Lavrov said.
On Monday, CNN and the investigative group Bellingcat published an exclusive investigation uncovering evidence that Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) formed an elite team specializing in nerve agents that trailed Navalny for years.
Lavrov’s comment marks the first reaction from a Russian official, as authorities have largely refrained from commenting on the findings. The Kremlin canceled their daily press briefings on Tuesday and Wednesday due to “preparations” for President Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference on Thursday.
“The operation of such skill and for such a long time cannot exist without a ruling from the chief of (the Russian Federal Security Service) FSB, Mr. Bortnikov. And he would never dare it without the direct order of President Putin.”
The European Union has since imposed sanctions on several senior officials including Alexander Bortnikov, saying he was “responsible for providing support to the persons who carried out or were involved in the poisoning” of Navalny.