Highly toxic, but unreliable. ‘Meduza’ answers key questions about Novichok-type nerve agent poisoning

On September 2, German officials announced that prominent opposition figure Alexey Navalny had been poisoned in Russia with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. Traces of the poison were found through tests conducted at a toxicology lab run by Germany’s armed forces (the Bundeswehr), at the request of doctors from the Charité Hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated in intensive care. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there are no doubts about the accuracy of the test results. “This is shocking information about the attempted murder by poison of one of Russia’s main oppositionists,” Merkel said. This announcement from the German government provoked a number of new questions about Navalny’s poisoning — “Meduza” answers some of the main ones.

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