Aleksei Navalny - Communiqué issued by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (02 Sept. 2020)


I was appalled to learn of the information issued by the German authorities confirming the use in Russia of a nerve agent belonging to the “Novichok” family to poison Aleksei Navalny.

I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the shocking and irresponsible use of such an agent.

Once again, the principle of the prohibition of the use of any chemical weapon has been violated. I wish to reaffirm that the use of chemical weapons, anywhere, at any time, by anyone, under any circumstances is unacceptable and contravenes international standards banning the use of these weapons, as reaffirmed by the Declaration of Principles endorsed by the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons launched on France’s initiative on January 23, 2018.

In this context, it is essential and urgent for the Russian authorities to establish without delay the circumstances in which the use of a nerve agent against Mr. Navalny was even possible. Given Mr. Navalny’s political status in Russia, the attack against him raises significant questions. It is the responsibility of the Russian authorities to respond to these questions.

France is in close contact with the German authorities, as well as its other partners, in order to coordinate our response to this event in the relevant forums, notably within the framework of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

We reaffirm our wholehearted solidarity with Aleksei Navalny and his family and wish him a speedy recovery.