Russia parliament orders probe into possible foreign link to alleged Navalny poisoning

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny delivers a speech during a rally to demand the release of jailed protesters, who were detained during opposition demonstrations for fair elections, in Moscow, Russia September 29, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov /File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday ordered one of its committees to probe whether foreign forces were behind the alleged poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a bid to fuel tensions in Russia.

“The State Duma security committee will be instructed to analyse what happened in order to understand whether this was an attempt on the part of foreign states to harm the health of a Russian citizen to fuel tensions inside Russia, as well as to formulate fresh accusations against our country,” speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said in a statement.

The Kremlin said earlier on Tuesday it saw no need for now to investigate the circumstances leading up to Navalny’s grave illness and that a German clinic’s initial diagnosis of poisoning was not yet conclusive.

Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Sujata Rao