Estonia condemns Navalny Novichok poisoning at UNSC

Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson.
Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson. Source: UN

Estonia has condemned the recent Novichok poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny at the UN Security Council (UNSC), where it has a non-permanent seat.

An open debate at the UNSC on chemical weapons on Thursday saw foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) state that the use of chemical weapons, including the Novichok nerve agent, needs to result in serious consequences for the perpetrators.

"Those responsible for the attack must be punished. An independent international investigation with experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is crucial," Reinsalu said, according to a ministry press release.

Reinsalu also called on the Russian Federation to cooperate in the matter, and referred to the 2018 Skripal Novichok attack in Salisbury, England.

"Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, has been used against people who Russia perceives as adversaries," Estonia's Permanent Representative to the UN Sven Jürgenson said Thursday.

Estonia also criticised Russia's repeated attempts to question the competence of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Other member states on the UNSC also condemned the attack on Navalny, the foreign ministry says.

The debate had focused primarily on the implementation of resolution 2118 (2013) on the use of chemical weapons in Syria,

Independent investigations have found evidence of around seven instances where the Syrian regime was responsible for using chemical weapons against its own populace, the foreign ministry says.

Navalny fell ill during a flight from Tomsk on August 20; he had reportedly only consumed a cup of tea in the hours leading up to the incident, prompting suspicions that that had been the vector for the nerve agent. He was subsequently transferred, still in a coma, to a hospital in Germany and has according to reports emerged from the coma and is talking.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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