Former US Diplomat May Have Been Poisoned Before Ukraine War

US Diplomat May Have Been Poisoned Before Ukraine War

( – John Herbst served as the US Ambassador to Ukraine from 2003 to 2006. After leaving the government, he held multiple roles in the public and private sectors. He currently works as the senior director of the Eurasia Center at the Atlantic Council, where he is a vocal opponent of the threat Russia presents to the world. A new report indicates he might have been poisoned months before Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

On May 16, the Atlantic Council released a statement after the Russian website Agentstvo published a report alleging someone may have poisoned Herbst. The think tank confirmed the former ambassador fell ill in April 2021. It wrote that he “experienced symptoms that could have been consistent with poisoning.” Doctors tested his blood and found elevated levels of unnamed toxins. Physicians treated his symptoms but could not determine whether he was actually poisoned.

Law enforcement took blood samples from Herbst, but the lab was not able to detect any toxins. Atlantic Council President Frederick Kempe stated that while the organization immediately involved law enforcement, they chose not to make the incident public because of the test results.

The Agentstvo report alleged Herbst and at least three other people experienced break-ins or poisonings by perpetrators who were linked to Russia.

This isn’t the first time someone has accused Russia of attacking the opposition in such a manner. In 2020, Alexei Navalny, a longtime enemy of President Vladimir Putin, was poisoned with Novichok, a nerve agent developed by the former Soviet Union. It was the same toxin the Russian military service allegedly used on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in an attack in the UK in 2018.

Recently, Russian activist Natalia Arno posted on Facebook that she believes she was poisoned during a trip to Europe from the US. According to the post, she thinks it might have been a nerve agent that made her ill, but said she is feeling better. There’s no confirmation that this was the case.

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