Russian ambassador says Tánaiste’s assertion Moscow killed Navalny is ‘unconscionable’

Yuri Filatov says any attempt to put the blame on the Russian authorities is ‘politically-motivated speculation’

Russian ambassador Yuri Filatov has rejected as “unconscionable” an assertion by Tánaiste Micheál Martin that there is “no question” but that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was killed by Moscow.

Mr Filatov was summoned to the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to address the alleged extrajudicial killing of Mr Navalny. The Russian embassy has said any attempt to put the blame on the Russian authorities is an intolerable interference in the internal affairs of Russia.

“There is no question in my mind that this kind of accusation is unacceptable and wrong, at least until all the facts related to the matter – the demise of Navalny – are determined by the proper investigation,” Mr Filatov told Drivetime presenter Cormac Ó hEadhra on Wednesday. “It is clear that every loss of life is regrettable, and this one is not an exception. But it would seem to me that at least we should wait until the facts are on the table to make any conclusions.”

When it was put to Mr Filatov that Mr Navalny’s incarceration in a penal colony within the Arctic Circle – one of the country’s harshest prisons – may have contributed to his death, he said that was “hearsay”, adding: “Whether or not that contributed is up to the medics to see.”


He continued: “What is going on at the moment is wanton and nonsensical allegations by the western political elite. It is politically-motivated speculation with a clear intent to exploit is for the purposes of attacking Russia, and that is unacceptable and unconscionable.”

Questioned on whether Moscow would permit an independent investigation into the death of Mr Navalny, he said: “I don’t have the slightest doubt in my mind that the procedures and investigations are impartial according to the law. This presupposes that the current investigation is not somehow impartial, which I reject of course. We have no interest in a cover-up.

“I simply never engage in conspiracy theories, which you seem to be doing. What I am doing is telling you the state of affairs as they are.”

As to whether he could guarantee the safety of other Russian dissidents, Mr Filatov said: “Again the premise of your question is outrageous and I completely reject it. How can I address your question? Is it paranoia? I cannot comment on provocative and paranoid questions like that.”

The US will announce a major package of sanctions against Russia on Friday over the death of Mr Navalny and the two-year Ukraine war, US president Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

Mr Filatov said the move would not have the desired effect on Russia, and rejected the suggestion it has become a pariah state. “They have already shown that the net result is close to nil. This is a mistaken policy that will not bring the desired results. As far as pariah goes, in your view that may be the case but you are not the world population. The majority support our view.”

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Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter