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Russian spy chief says Western provocation cannot be ruled out in Navalny case - RIA

FILE PHOTO: Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, attends the Victory Day Parade in Red Square in Moscow, Russia June 24, 2020. The military parade, marking the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, was scheduled for May 9 but postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency said on Thursday that Moscow could not exclude that Western special forces were behind the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, the RIA news agency reported.

Sergei Naryshkin, head of the agency, added that no traces of poison had been found by Russian doctors after Navalny fell ill in Siberia last month.

The comments came a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Navalny had been poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Mark Trevelyan