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Europeans on Security Council Want Russia Explanation on Navalny

Alexander Shcherbak / TASS

Five European members of the UN Security Council have demanded an explanation from Russia on the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which they called "a threat to international peace and security."

The letter from Germany, Britain, Belgium, Estonia and France -- released Thursday -- was submitted to the Council on the eve of Moscow's taking over the presidency of the panel for the month of October.

"We call on the Russian Federation to disclose, urgently, fully and in a transparent manner, the circumstances of this attack and to inform the Security Council in this regard," the five countries said in the letter.

They pointed to a November 22, 2019 Security Council declaration that "any use of chemical weapons anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstance is unacceptable and a threat to international peace and security."

"As such, we consider that the use of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok group in the abhorrent poisoning of Mr Alexey Navalny constitutes a threat to international peace and security."

Asked by journalists for his response to the letter, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called for cooperation from the Europeans. 

"Instead of drafting letters... they should have better, some of them, cooperate with the Russian authorities," he said. "We are saying a simple thing: if you have facts, present them."

Navalny on Thursday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind his poisoning, with the West identifying the toxin as the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner Navalny pledged to get fit as soon as possible to continue his fight.

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