The Kremlin denied that Vladimir Putin was involved in the poisoning of Russian opposition leader and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who has been in a coma since falling ill on board a flight to Moscow last week.
Navalny’s associates have accused the Kremlin of being involved in Navalny’s poisoning as well as in blocking his move to a hospital in Berlin.
The Charité hospital in Berlin announced on Monday that Navalny had been poisoned, a statement that Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denounced as “hasty.”
"We have not yet learned anything new from this statement," Peskov added.
Navalny has been receiving treatment in Berlin since he was moved there on Saturday, following a testy standoff between Navalny’s family, who wanted him transported to Germany, and Russian doctors, who claimed doing so would be too risky.
“Now, at the last moment, doctors are not giving permission [for the move]. This decision, of course, was not made by them, but by the Kremlin.” Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh tweeted during the standoff.
Peskov responded to questions about Putin’s alleged involvement in Navalny’s poisoning at a press briefing on Tuesday. “We cannot take the accusations you have voiced seriously,” he said, calling the claims “empty noise.”
Peskov also criticized what he believes is a rush to conclude that Navalny was poisoned. "We do not understand why our German colleagues are in such a hurry in using the word poisoning," Peskov said, referring to a statement released Monday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
The Kremlin is refusing to open a criminal investigation into Navalny's poisoning. "There needs to be a reason," Peskov said.
Yarmysh said she was not surprised by the Kremlin's statement. "The fact that the crime would not be properly investigated and that a culprit wouldn't be found, was obvious," she tweeted.