Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there is a “substantial chance” that senior Russian officials ordered Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny’s poisoning.

Speaking to conservative pundit Ben Shapiro on his podcast Wednesday, the secretary of state said that the US and European Union were working to find the culprit that poisoned Navalny, one of the most prominent Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin.

“I think people all around the world see this kind of activity for what it is. And when they see the effort to poison a dissident, and they recognize that there is a substantial chance that this actually came from senior Russian officials, I think this is not good for the Russian people. I think it’s not good for Russia.

“I think people see this and say this is not the way countries that want to be powers, that want to be important and play on the global stage, this is not the way that they should engage in activity. They ought to instead promote freedom and democracy. I think this – these kind of things put real black marks on countries. And I think that’s different than 10 or 15 or 20 years ago,” the nation’s top diplomat continued.

Pompeo went on to say that he believed the world “has matured and come to an understanding that this is not how normal countries operate, and this will prove costly for the Russians.”

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
Russian opposition leader Alexei NavalnyEvgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

The secretary of state’s comments were not his first on the matter since news of Navalny’s poisoning broke.

Earlier this week he tweeted, “My G7 counterparts and I strongly condemned the poisoning of Alexei Navalny with a chemical nerve agent.”

“This attack contravenes the international norms prohibiting the use of such weapons. We call on Russia to bring those responsible for this abhorrent attack to justice,” he added.

Navalny, 44, had been in an induced coma in a Berlin hospital since he was flown to Germany on Aug. 22 for treatment two days after he became sick on a flight from Siberia to Moscow.

Police officers are seen outside Charite Mitte Hospital Complex in Berlin after Alexei Navalny came out of a medically induced coma.
Police officers are seen outside Charite Mitte Hospital Complex in Berlin after Alexei Navalny came out of a medically induced coma.Michele Tantussi/Reuters

Aides believe he sipped tea at the airport laced with poison, and German chemical weapons experts confirmed through tests done last week that he was “without doubt” poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent.

Novichok is the agent British authorities said was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in 2018.

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