November 30, 2023

A participant holds a poster that reads “One for all, all for one” during a rally in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow, Russia, on Jan. 23, 2021.

Maxim Shemetov | Reuters

In his first press conference since he was confirmed as Foreign Minister, Antony Blinken expressed “deep concern” about the treatment of Alexei Navalny and the general human rights situation in Russia.

Last week, Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, flew from Berlin to Russia, where he had recovered for almost six months since his alleged poisoning last summer. He was arrested on arrival in Moscow.

“As the President has said, we are looking across the board for all of these measures which make us very concerned, whether it concerns the treatment of Mr Navalny and in particular the apparent use of a chemical weapon in an attempt to assassinate him.” “Blinking said.

Last year, Navalny was medically evacuated to Germany from a Russian hospital after falling ill after reports that something had been added to his tea. Russian doctors treating Navalny denied that the Kremlin critic had been poisoned, blaming his comatose condition for low blood sugar levels.

In September, the German government announced that the 44-year-old Russian dissident had been poisoned by a chemical agent on nerves and described the toxicological report as “clear evidence”. The nerve agent was in the Novichok family, which was developed by the Soviet Union.

Following the test results, the White House said it was concerned about the matter and denounced the poisoning.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the results released today,” White House National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement made at the time. “The poisoning of Alexei Navalny is completely reprehensible. Russia has used the chemical nerve agent Novichok in the past,” he said, referring to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied having played a role in the Skirpal and Navalny incidents.

“And I am still struck by how concerned and perhaps even frightened the Russian government seems to be made up of one man, Mr. Navalny,” said Blinken on Wednesday.

The top US diplomat also noted that the Biden administration is reviewing the hack on SolarWinds, reports of Russian bounties to American forces in Afghanistan, and possible election nuisance.