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Putin to set up inquiry into Navalny poisoning - Italy's PM

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends a session of the upper house of parliament, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy, July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has told Italy’s prime minister that he will set up a committee to investigate the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Giuseppe Conte was quoted on Thursday as saying.

Navalny, a prominent critic of Putin, is being treated in a Berlin hospital after falling ill on a Russian domestic flight last month. Germany says he was poisoned with a nerve agent. Russia has said it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned.

“President Putin has assured me (in a recent conversation) that Russia intends to clear up what has happened, and told me that he would set up a committee of inquiry and was ready to collaborate with the German authorities,” Italy’s Conte told the newspaper Il Foglio in an interview.

“Collaboration is the best way to prevent this dramatic event from negatively affecting relations between the EU and Russia,” Conte added.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Gareth Jones