Kremlin: bottle in Navalny case could have been evidence, but was removed from Russia

MOSCOW, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Friday that a water bottle found in the hotel room of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who Germany and other western governments say was poisoned with a nerve agent, could have served as evidence in investigating his case but was instead taken out of Russia by his supporters.

Navalny’s team said on Thursday the water bottle removed from his hotel room in the city of Tomsk last month had been taken to Germany and found to have traces of Novichok nerve agent.

Asked about the finding, the Kremlin said that Russian specialists had been unable to examine the bottle and that Moscow was therefore not able to comment.

Russia has said it needs to see more evidence before a formal criminal investigation is opened into the Navalny case. (Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Dmitry Antonov; editing by Mark Trevelyan)