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Germany

German prosecutors investigate possible poisoning of Russian dissidents

Prosecutors in Germany say they are looking into what may be a politically motivated poisoning attack on two Russian journalists. The case recalls the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

A man pouring an orange fluid into a glass container

The journalists believe they were poisoned

German prosecutors say they are investigating the possibility that a Russian dissident couple living in Germany could be the victims of a poisoning attack.

The news magazine Focus reported earlier that the couple alerted police because they believed they were the target of an attack. The magazine said that the couple, Viktor and Marina Kalashnikov, had abnormally high concentrations of mercury in their blood.

The magazine said both have suffered health problems and that medical experts have recommended that the couple undergo further tests and be watched closely. Mercury poisoning can lead to kidney failure and problems with speech.

Kremlin critics

The Kalashnikovs, who are journalists, have written articles in which they criticize the Kremlin, especially its policy in Chechnya. They came to Germany in September and now live in Berlin.

They told Focus they were sure the Russian secret service was behind the suspected attack.

Prosecutors said the case was being handled by a department specializing in politically motivated crimes.

Alexander Litvinenko

Former Russian spy Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning

Parallels to Litvinenko murder

Commentators have drawn parallels to the case of the former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed by radioactive poisoning in London in 2006.

British investigators suspect that the murder was carried out by a former Russian secret police agent.

Author: Timothy Jones (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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