The German Association of Journalists (DJV) called for “diplomatic answers” from the federal government towards Russia if the suspicion of poisoning attacks on two journalists was confirmed. The DJV was reacting to reports that the two exiled Russian journalists complained of symptoms of poisoning in connection with a visit to a conference by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky in Berlin. The Berlin state security determined in the cases.
More protection for media representatives
“It’s bad enough that the Kremlin is trying to put critical journalists under pressure abroad,” said DJV national chairman Frank Überall. If it turns out that Russian President Vladimir Putin “does not even shy away from attempted assassination, a clear answer from the Federal Foreign Office is indispensable”. In addition, the security authorities are called upon to improve the protection of exiled Russian reporters living in Germany, demanded Überall.
The journalists took part in a conference held by the Russian government critic Khodorkovsky in April. Because of possible symptoms of poisoning of the women, the State Criminal Police Office had started investigations. The facts are being processed by the police state security, said a police spokesman on Sunday, but gave no further details with reference to the ongoing investigations.
The “Welt am Sonntag” reported about it first. The newspaper referred to a report by the Russian portal Agentstvo, according to which two conference participants complained of health problems. One of them, the head of a non-profit organization based in the United States, reported on the social network Facebook that she had felt “strange symptoms” and an “acute pain”, but numbness remained.
She suspected that she might have been poisoned with a nerve agent. According to the Russian media report, the symptoms of the second person affected could have appeared before the conference in April, wrote the “Welt am Sonntag”. She went to the Charité in Berlin.
Poison attacks are not isolated cases
In recent years there have been several poisoning attacks on opponents of the Russian regime at home and abroad. The case of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny made the headlines in particular: he collapsed on a flight within Russia in August 2020. First he was treated in Russia, then transferred to the Berlin Charite. There, poisoning with a nerve agent was determined.
The government in Moscow has denied allegations that Russian authorities tried to kill Navalny. Navalny was arrested on returning home from Germany in January 2021 and convicted of violating probation and fraud. He has been in prison ever since.
haz/uh (afp, rtr, dpa)