Russia denial of Navalny poisoning taken with grain of salt: Champagne

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canada and its G7 allies are taking Russia’s denials of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a “grain of salt.”

Champagne tells The Canadian Press Canada is working with Germany and G7 partners on a co-ordinated response to Russia’s attack on the leading political opposition figure.

The minister is also working on Canada’s next moves on Hong Kong as he speaks from a post-trip quarantine after visiting four countries last week.

Champagne recently took part in a virtual G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, which includes Russia, but Canada chose the smaller, more democratic G7 to have a more robust discussion about dealing with what he calls an outrageous move by the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin to stifle dissent in his country.

Germany has said Navalny was poisoned with a chemical nerve agent on Aug. 20 on a trip from Siberia, a charge the Kremlin has denied.

Navalny is in a Berlin hospital after being placed in an induced coma.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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