V4 PMs issue statement urging Russia to investigate Navalny's poisoning

V4 PMs issue statement urging Russia to investigate Navalny's poisoning Jacek Szydłowski/PAP

The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the four countries that make up the regional Visegrad Group (V4), in a joint statement urged Russia to carry out a thorough investigation into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In a joint statement issued in English and published by the Polish Foreign Ministry on Saturday, the prime ministers wrote:

"V4 unequivocally condemns the assassination attempt on the most prominent Russian opposition leader. The public opinion both in Russia and beyond demands a transparent and thorough investigation to precisely identify real perpetrators and their motives. Due to tragic historical experiences V4 public is particularly sensitive to any case of politically motivated attempts of silencing political opponents."

The four heads of government also called upon Moscow to properly investigate the incident with the aim of finding those behind the murder attempt.

"Therefore we urge Russian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation, that will lead to the punishment of the perpetrators. The poisoning of Alexey Navalny with the military-grade nerve agent cannot remain without proper response from international community. The use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable under any circumstances and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. Thus, international inquiry into potential breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention by Russia must be conducted as well," the prime ministers went on to say.

On August 20, Navalny was hospitalised in a serious condition after a suspected Novichok poisoning while flying from Tomsk to Moscow in what was possibly a politically-motivated attack. On August 22, he was moved from Russia to the Charite clinic in Berlin on a special flight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in early September that Navalny was the victim of attempted murder. The Bundeswehr laboratory examining the samples taken from the Russian oppositionist revealed that he had been poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent of the Novichok group.