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UK says Russia must explain why Putin critic Navalny was poisoned with Novichok

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives to attend a Cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, Britain, September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain insisted Russia must explain why a critic of Russian President Vladmir Putin has been poisoned with a nerve agent of the Novichok family and said it is unacceptable that the chemical weapon has been used again.

Toxology tests of blood samples from Alexei Navalny conducted at a German military laboratory produced what Germany called “unequivocal evidence” that he was poisoned with Novichok.

“The Russian government has a clear case to answer. It must tell the truth about what happened to Mr Navalny,” British foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that this banned chemical weapon has been used again, and once more we see violence directed against a leading Russian opposition figure.”

Britain says Russia used Novichok to poison former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the British city of Salisbury in 2018.

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison