National Security

Pompeo Backs Investigation Into Poisoning of Putin Critic

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo / Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Tuesday that Washington condemns the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and would back an EU investigation, according to a press release.

"The United States is deeply concerned by reported preliminary conclusions from German medical experts that Russian opposition activist Aleksey Navalny was poisoned," the statement reads. "If the reports prove accurate, the United States supports the EU’s call for a comprehensive investigation and stands ready to assist in that effort."

"Mr. Navalny’s family and the Russian people deserve to see a full and transparent investigation carried out, and for those involved to be held accountable," Pompeo added. "Our thoughts are with Mr. Navalny’s family and we hope for his full recovery."

German authorities say that early toxicology reports reveal Navalny was poisoned. Russian doctors originally delayed Navalny’s transfer to Germany, claiming his condition was too unstable for travel.

Kremlin critics of recent years have often disappeared, been silenced, imprisoned, or poisoned like Navalny. Navalny’s poisoning prompted calls for an open and transparent investigation from authorities.

"In light of the prominent role played by Mr. Navalny in the political opposition in Russia, the authorities there are now urgently called upon to investigate this crime to the last detail—and do so in full transparency," German chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday.

"Those responsible must be identified and held accountable," Merkel added.

Moscow has thus far pushed back against calls for an investigation. 

"We don’t understand on what grounds our German colleagues are in such a hurry to use the word poison," Russia’s presidential spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said. "A substance has not been identified."

Washington remains watching closely, offering support for Germany's calls for an investigation despite Russia’s reticence.

"The U.S. stands ready to assist," Pompeo tweeted Tuesday.