When last we checked in on Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, his doctors in Berlin’s Charite hospital had announced that they found traces of some toxic cholinesterase inhibitors in his system, adding fuel to suspicions that he had indeed been poisoned during his recent trip to Siberia. He’s not out of the woods yet, medically speaking, but he’s at least stable. We already heard that Germany’s Angela Merkel has called for a full investigation into the alleged attack, but now she has some high-powered company from the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has joined in to call for an investigation of the matter. But thus far, Moscow seems curiously uninterested. (Free Beacon)
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.”
A rather important distinction to note here is that Pompeo isn’t calling for a United States investigation of the crime. (Not that we’d really have the jurisdiction to dig into it too deeply anyway.) He’s simply offering America’s sympathetic support for an EU investigation. But even that much of a gesture will likely wind up ruffling Putin’s feathers anyway.
But how much investigating can even the European Union do? Aside from interviewing the German doctors and reviewing their reports, they would probably wind up running into a brick wall at that point. I suppose there could be some covert channels where they could make inquiries, but there aren’t really any examples of somebody solving the mysterious disappearances of one of Putin’s perceived enemies who suddenly winds up disappearing, falling mysteriously ill or “committing suicide.”
It may be possible that a whistleblower could come forward if they were offered asylum elsewhere, but that’s a longshot at best. Putin as a long reach, as has been demonstrated when his goons have managed to go after targets in Great Britain and France. Getting on Putin’s naughty list tends to lead to severe health issues in rapid order. But perhaps the Russians will have a change of heart and launch a search for the real killer(s) themselves? Don’t count on it.
“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.”
Yes. Why are you silly Europeans and Americans so quick to use the word poison? After all, who truly knows what happened? It was no doubt just an unfortunate accident.
As I said when this entire tragic episode began, the Russians have been depressingly predictable in such matters over the years. If anything comes of this at all, Putin’s thugs will simply find a conveniently disposable person to blame, arrest them, and then arrange for another “unfortunate accident” in prison. Expecting any more of them would be a sign of extreme optimism or a lack of familiarity with the KGB mentality.