Germany’s government handed transcripts of interviews with Alexei Navalny to Russia, as part of the Kremlin’s probe into the poisoning of the activist, a Justice Ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
The ministry has demanded a thorough probe into Navalny’s poisoning and made the interrogation protocols available to Russia’s government. The Kremlin now has all the information needed to carry out a criminal investigation into the poisoning in August — including blood, clothing and tissue samples — the spokesman said.
“The German government assumes that the Russian government will now immediately take all necessary steps to clarify the crime against Mr. Navalny,” he said.
“This crime must be solved in Russia,” the spokesman added. “This requires investigations commensurate with the seriousness of this crime.”
The Kremlin had made previous requests for legal assistance, but Germany’s government delayed the response, referring to Navalny’s poor state of health, which kept him from being questioned. The activist was brought to Germany for treatment after the poisoning attack.
Navalny to return to Russia
On Sunday, Navalny is set to fly back to Russia for the first time since the poisoning, despite the risk of being jailed upon his return. Navalny has accused Putin of ordering his poisoning with the deadly Novichok nerve agent, and some supporters have urged him to stay abroad for his own safety.
The Russian government has denied any involvement in the attack, claiming that Russian agents would have successfully killed him if they wanted him dead.
The German Justice Ministry said Navalny was interviewed by Berlin prosecutors and provided “extensive answers” to questions submitted by Russia’s general prosecutor’s office.
The transcripts are now available to Russia under the European Mutual Legal Assistance Convention, the spokesman said.