National Security

Pompeo Joins G7 Foreign Ministers To Condemn Navalny Poisoning

US Secretary Of State, Mike Pompeo, Visits The UK
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined foreign ministers from fellow G7 countries to condemn the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a Tuesday statement.

"We, the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the confirmed poisoning of Alexei Navalny," the statement reads. "This attack against opposition leader Navalny is another grave blow against democracy and political plurality in Russia. It constitutes a serious threat to those men and women engaged in defending the political and civil freedoms that Russia herself has committed to guarantee."

Last week, Germany released toxicology findings confirming that Navalny was poisoned by Novichok, a Soviet-era nerve agent accessible to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services. Novichok was notably employed in the attempted assassination of a Russian dissident in 2018 that resulted in the death of a British civilian. 

After several weeks in a medically induced coma, Navalny emerged in improved condition on Monday.

As international pressure mounts on Russia for silencing Navalny and other prominent Russian critics in recent months, major economic and political partners of Moscow are reconsidering their commitments to the autocratic regime.

Prominent German opposition leaders and Republican lawmakers have called for Berlin to pull out of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia, which would funnel millions of dollars' worth of natural gas through central and eastern Europe per year. 

Last week, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) called on German chancellor Angela Merkel to suspend the agreement. "It's long past time to end Nord Stream II," Gallagher tweeted last Thursday. "The free world should not be in the business of giving Vladimir Putin leverage."

Even before Gallagher’s rebuke of the Kremlin, Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.), Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), and Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) wrote an open letter to a German port in August, urging quick action to decouple from Russian gas assets and threatening crushing sanctions to come if the pipeline’s status remains unchanged.

"The U.S. government knows that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is near completion and considers it a grave threat to European energy security and American national security," the letter reads. "The administration and Congress, and both parties, are united in their commitment to ensure that the pipeline remains uncompleted and those threats are never realized."