Alexei Navalny

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 25th January 2021.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for UK relations with Russia of the recording of alleged dialogue between Alexei Navalny and Konstantin Kudryavtsev on a failed assassination attempt, published by Bellingcat on 21 December 2020.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The recording of an alleged dialogue between Alexei Navalny and Konstantin Kudryavtsev, published by Bellingcat on 21 December 2020, underlines the need for the Russian authorities to undertake a thorough and transparent investigation into Mr Navalny's poisoning with a banned chemical weapon. The UK has been clear that Russia has a case to answer and that there is currently no other plausible explanation for Mr Navalny's poisoning other than Russian involvement and responsibility.

Any use of a chemical weapon is unacceptable. All States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), including Russia, are obliged to observe the Convention's complete prohibition of development, possession and use of chemical weapons as set out in the CWC. We have worked with international partners at the OPCW to call on Russia to investigate and credibly explain the use of a chemical weapon on its territory in line with its commitments under the CWC. So far, Russia has failed to do so. We will continue to work with international partners on our response to this attack.

The confirmed use of a chemical weapon against Mr Navalny and his latest detention further undermine democracy and political plurality in Russia.

We urge Russia to fulfil its commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and all other relevant instruments of the Council of Europe and Organisation for Security and Co- operation in Europe (OSCE) and to guarantee these rights, including the right to freedom of expression, to its citizens.

The current relationship with Russia is not the one we want. But there can be no normalisation in our bilateral relationship until Russia stops its irresponsible and destabilising activity that threatens the UK and its allies.

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